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/ •' 

/ ■•■,.■ 










MISTRAL'S MEMOIRS. Fram dbe Flinch 
%ifitk a PrafMC bj tke Tnmlator. 


Books for Children 










" I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered 
virtue unexercised and sheathed, that never 
sallies out and sees his adversary ; but slinks 
out of the race where that immortal garland is 
to be run for, not without dust and heat," 


" And to the Woman were given two wings." 




OF TU'^ 


•i i * • . 4 . 1 . i 


■ t r 

Printed in Great BrUain 


William Brendan and Son, Ltd, Plymouth 











Chehea^ 191a 



I. In the Black Country 




Brackbnhill Hall 



Jbnnv'8 Call 



In the Courtyard 



Before the Magistrate 



Canterbury Tales 

. 103 


On a Trolly-Cart 



At the Week-End Cottage 



In Middleham Church 

. 179 


The Dinnbr-Party 

. 206 


A Crushed Butterfly 

. 244 


Behind Prison Bars 

• «53 


In the Punishment Cell . 

. 269 


Job's Surrender . 

. 296 

L'Envoie. The Passing op the Women • 

• 311 




Once upon a time God made a fair green valley in 
the North Country. The surrounding hills were wooded 
with noble trees, the green pastures were watered by 
fresh clear streams. Overhead the blue arch of heaven 
was swept by sweet, clean, pine-scented winds. The 
people of this country were thrifty and industrious, 
spinning and delving, sowing and reaping, and, taken 
all round, as happy and contented as any on the face 
of this earth, where men and women are bom each to 
their share of educational sorrow, as surely as the 
sparks fly upward. 

But with the turning of Time's wheel came a change. 
The Juggernaut-car of so-called progress rolled over 
that country, crushing out all its fair beauty. Gone 
now are the woods and the green pastures. Stunted 
and blighted the scarce trees and flowers. The once 
life-giving winds are laden with coal-dust and grit, 
which chokes the green life at its birth. The streams 
and rivers run murky and foul, and the sky hangs like 
a grey pall, blotting out the sun, which tries in vain to 
pierce through the dense atmosphere. For this is the 
land of the great cotton mills and the factories • The 



Green Country of the Creator has become the Black 
Country of Man. 

Many tall mill chimneys rear their gaunt heads into 
the gloomy sky of the town of Greyston, and round the 
mills cluster a network of narrow, grimy streets, blocked 
with tramlines and an unceasing stream of human life. 

It was early June, a day that in the olden times, 
when the sun had free access to the dale, might have 
been gloriously bright, but under existing conditions 
only succeeded in being close and lifeless. In the 
long, low weaving-shed of Walker's great mill it was 
stifling. Two men opened the door — the manager show- 
ing round a visitor. The sudden blast of whirling 
machinery and foul air which greeted them made the 
visitor reel back, 

" Don*t think I can stand that to-day even for two 
minutes," he shouted above the din to his companion. 

The manager smiled, guessing though not hearing 
his words. 

" It is a bit noisy and close for those not used to it,** 
he allowed; and, after casting a hurried glance at the 
five hundred women and girls whose business it was to 
" get used to it,*' they beat a retreat. 

Just above the weavers' heads spun the endless net- 
work of wheels. The looms, of which most weavers 
were working four, were placed so close together as to 
make it only just possible to pass down the narrow 
ways. The shuttles, like grim projectiles, darted to 
and fro between the warp and woof. Projectiles 
truly, for not infrequently they have been known 
to fly suddenly out of their appointed path and inflict 
severe injury on some unsuspecting toiler, blinding an 
eye or giving a deadly stab in the back. Modern in- 
vention, so active in other directions, has not yet suc- 
ceeded in discovering a means of protecting the weavers 
from these accidents. 

• .•• • • • • 

• • • • • . •• 

• •. . . « « 

* • • *♦ i 

••• • • . , 


The pandemonium b such that no voice can be 
heard even when raised to a shriek. The weavers^ 
when obliged to speak with each other, make signs 
and lip-read, an art in which they are adepts. The air 
is full of fine flakes of cotton fibre and the dust front 
china day. Ventilation, in spite of inspectors and laws, 
is of the meagrest and most primitive description. The 
air, when dry, is moistened by steam lest the thread 
should suffer, but the lungs of the. workers are not so 
carefully considered. There are always plenty of girls 
to fill a vacant place, for the textile worker is better 
paid than any other class of working woman. 

Oh, the weaving-shed is stifling this June afternoon I 
Many a form is drooping, and pale cheek growing 
paler, for they have been at it since six in the morning 
with but half an hour's interval for breakfast at eight, 
and an hour for dinner at midday, and it is now nearly 
four o'clock. A slip of a girl whose three looms are all 
in full swing tries to snatch just a few seconds rest, and 
slinging a leather strap across two looms, sits down, 
but the " tackier " seems to have eyes set in his 
shoulder-blades, for he turns sharply and signs to her 
angrily. The girl springs to her feet praying Heaven 
her rash act may not bring on her the punishment of 
a fine. 

All at once the wheels slacken, and as if by magic 
a hush steals over the looms. The formidable shuttle 
ceases to dart back and forth between warp and woof. 
The weavers, hastily gathering up their shawls and little 
baskets or tins, for most of them have dined in the 
shed, make for the door like escaping prisoners, and 
draw in long draughts of the outer air as though it 
were life-giving water. They are doing daily short 
time by two hours this month, but that alas I means 
short wage with all its accompanying problems. 

A small pale girl of some fifteen years ran up to 


an elder sister, her senior by about ten years^ clinging 
on to her arm. 

*' Well, Sally, how do you like bein' a full-timer? 
Tisn*t all beer and skittles, eh?" 

** It*s a mercy we're doin' short time this week, 
Jenny. I couldn't have held on another minute. My 
'ead was all of a swim, and my legs was that queer I 
didn't know where they'd got to," said the girl. 

" Oh, you'll get over that, lass. We all feel that 
way at times, come to stand all day at it. Half-timer's 
different work you see. Get some fresh air inside of 
you — go for a walk with Liza Wilkins after tea and 
don't come in until supper-time." 

" Not as I'm sorry to stop bein' 'arf-timer. Six 
hours in mill, an* school on top, takes the starch out o* 
yo* too— to think you done full-time at ten, and mother 
at eight I • . . Don't tell mother I felt queer— she'd 
only worry." 

" Coorse not, you'll be all right by supper-time." 
Jenny gave an understanding nod, and Sally darted 
after her friend with recovered confidence in her long 
thin legs. 

Meanwhile, Jenny Clegg wound her way up through 
the hilly side-streets to the outskirts of the town, and 
.entered a stern grey little house at the corner of a long 
row, all as like each other as threaded beans. She passed 
through the stiffly-arranged and rarely-used parlour, 
to the more comfortable-looking kitchen and living- 
room beyond, with its big oak dresser and spacious 

On a couch drawn close to the fire lay a tall, gaunt 
youth of some twenty-two years, propped up by pillows. 
In his hands he held listlessly some netting, but the 
long web spoke of many hours previous toil. By his 
side was a pile of books and papers. Signs of suffer- 
ing and weariness showed in the drawn lines of his 


bony face, but the eyes were keen and bright, and 
lines of courage fought with the depression which 
marked the mouth and chin. He gave a slight shiver 
as the door opened admitting his sister, but looked up 
with a welcoming smile, as his eyes rested on the 
comely little figure in the shawl and clogs of the mill, 

Jenny noticed the shiver. " Dost find it cold^ lad? 
Outside 'tis mighty hot, I can tell yo*. The weavin - 
shed might a bin an oven. I am glad for Sally's sake 
we'm doin' short time, spite of short brass on sech days," 

"Aye to be sure I" Peter looked enviously at the 
strong free movements of his sister as she prepared the 
tea, and then reached up to a shelf taking down a basket 
of clothes set aside for mending. He gave a weary 
sigh. " Guess I'm different to thee, Jenny. I've 
nobbut skin and boan for coverin'." He smiled whim- 
sically. " It 'ud take two or three o' my thickness to 
fill a gradely suit o' clothes." 

Jenny drew her chair nearer to the sofa. " Why 
now, 'tis not fat gives strength, Peter lad. You'll soon 
be better, you'll see, now the ugly shuttle wound is 
nearly healed up." 

" 111 never be no better, Jenny." He spoke with 
quiet conviction. " Tis five years I've lain now. But 
it's not right I should lay 'ere takin' the food from 
them as works an' earns it. Better let me go t'orspital 
an' finish up theer." 

Jenny turned her head quickly to thread her needle 
— not very easy with water in your eyes— but her voice 
rang clear and cheery as she said: 

" 'Orspital, indeed I Want them students to be 
cuttin' ye up like they served poor Bill Hopton? 
Rigged up on a table — chloroformed— and waken to 
find the jokers 'ave 'ad a bit out o' yer innards— a leg 
off here, an arm off there, to say nothing of a handful o' 
your brains which Lord knows you can ill spare?" 


•' You*re noan a bad judge o* docthers, Jenny," 
laughed Peter. 

Jenny rose and went to his side, kneeling by the 
sofa and gently stroking his hair. 

*' Neer mention naught 'bout t*orspital again, or 
you'll just hear the length o' my tongue, lad." Her 
voice took on all at once the tender mother-tone. " Now 
hearken to me— Mother and me's been saving the Store 
checks for nigh on two years now. 'Tis nobbut a few 
pennies in the week, but they mount to a tidy pile when 
you leave 'em and don't draw the divi. • • •" 

Peter turned astonished eyes upon his sister, in- 
terrupting with, " By gum, Jenny, you an' mother done 
that? But if fayther knawd mother'd save check brass 
he'd have it for sure." 

"I'll take thee word for that, lad," agreed Jenny, 
" but he doan't know an' for why should he? They're 
noan his checks. He gets his money's worth out o' 'is 
victuals same as I do for my money. The checks is 
mother's, as took the trouble to tramp two three mile 
for 'em, an' laid by the brass so as you can go to the 
Convalescent *Ome like any lord. Once theer, you'll 
pick up likd a cauliflower after a bucket o' water," con- 
cluded Jenny in her most beguiling tones. 

But Peter's face was overcast with gloom and had 
no answering smile. 

"I'm noan goin' to tak' th' checks, Jenny. 'Tis bad 
eno' to lie 'ere like a bump on a log 'stead o' workin' 
to help keep the wom." 

"An* who's to blame at you can't work, lad?" 
Jenny interrupted sharply. " Shuttle as struck ye in 
the back?— Or the man as shaped weavin'-shed and 
looms? — Or laws as 'lows one man to wreck the lives o' 
many? . . •" 

" Or Gawd as 'lows it all?" said Peter, with a touch 
of bitterness. " Well, whatsomever it be, we mun put 


*up wi't. The pity of it is that shuttle went for me a 
twelve month before the Employers* Liability were 
passed by Parliament — ^but we mun tak' life as 't comes, 
Jenny, an' put up wi't." 

•* Put up wi't? Put up wi' wrong? Put up wi* igno- 
rance an' tyranny an' cruelty? Nay, lad. That's not 
the way they talked last night at th' women's Meeting. 
'Tis God's voice inside of us makes us rise against sich 
things. We're in this world to try an' make things 
better, not leave 'em be; it's nobbut slaves talk to say 
we should put up wi' wrong." 

" I'd be worse 'n any slave if I tuk thy check brass, 
lass. Bad eno' to live on women's wage. Fayther's 
gan mighty little many weeks back — ^he's at 'is owd 
game, I'll go bail." 

Jenny rose and sat down again to her mending. Her 
face showed troublous thought as she answered, ** Aye — 
I'm feerin' he's bettin' again. I heard 'im say to one 
o' his mates he'd be off on bizness to-morn." 

" Sure, it's Poolchester's 'is bizness," agreed Peter, 
with a sigh. '* '£'s a hard nut to crack is fayther." 

'* Well, he's not a-goin' to lay hands on th' checks 
if I know it," said Jenny, with sudden vigour. 

" Now just hearken to me, Jenny — there'll be plenty 
o' use for yon bit o' brass if fayther doan't come 
sperrin' after it. ... I reckon you'll be gettin' wed 
afoor long, eh?" Peter tried to see his sister's face, but 
she got up hastily and moved across the room as she said : 

"I'm noan in such mighty haste to get wed, Peter 
lad — put me head in a noose and give a man the string 
to twist, like pore Liz 'as done? No I " 

" Poor Liz I She's another mak' o' porritch to thee, 
^ Jenny. How about Joe 'Opton, eh? Bain't yo* set on 
^him no longer?" 

" Oh, thou'rt a wonderful chap for questions," 
laughed Jenny, her cheeks showing a pretty colour. 


Peter looked at her searchingly, anxiously. 

" Joe 'Opton uU be Member o* Parliamen' foor 'e's 
done— you mark my words, Jenny— they all sen so " 

*• Maybe, maybe/* Jenny's tone expressed perfect 
indifference to the glorious destiny of Joe Hopton. 
" But Joe's all for the men an' their reets," she added 
bitterly; "he thinks nought about the women." 

'* Theer's one woman 'e thinks eno' about. How 
many wud ye hae 'im to be thinkin' about, lass?" in- 
quired Peter, with a half-concealed smile. 

His sister gave an impatient shrug to her shoulders. 

" Oh, you men's all alike — can't see further than yer 
own doormat. Well, not to go further, can't yo' see 
this is but a badly-shaped world for women?" 

As she spoke a woman passed the open window, 
giving on to the road, pausing a moment to look in. 

" Here comes one o' them by the same token," she 
added, rising and going through the parlour to open 
the door, 

" Liz, was it?" called Peter after her. 

" Aye— it's poor Liz," answered Jenny hurriedly. 

Another moment and the sound of a voice breaking 
into sobs, then bursting into angry denunciations, 
reached Peter's anxiously straining ears. 

" Wotever's wrong? Come in here do, Liz," he 

A pale, half-grown looking young woman, like an 
ill-watered plant of poor soil, entered at the moment. 
Her red-brown hair showed some care, but the gown 
bore stains and patches, and her face matched it. 

" Whatever do yo' think Sam's done now?" she cried 
passionately. " Oh Gawd, I'll go mad wi't — clean mad, 
I will." She wrung her hands distractedly. 

" Well, but tell us what's wrong, for God's sake, 
Liz," cried Jenny, while Peter, making room on his 
narrow couch, added soothingly: 


•• Durn't greet, lass— we'll 'elp you threaw. Come, 
sit down here." 

•• You can't 'elp, nobry can/* sobbed Liz. " 'E's 
takken the two childher from their gran'mother at 
Ratchda* an' shipped 'em off t' Australy." 

"Australyl" ejaculated Peter incredulously. Then 
he laughed reassuringly. "Rubbish I '£'s gettin' at 
ye, Liz. Why, th' owd dame 'ud never let 'im." 

" Of course not," chimed in Jenny; " cheer up, lass. 
Sam's jest mad with ye because of tryin' to get the law 
on 'im— that's what it is." 

" It's Gawd's truth I'm tellin' yo'." Liz broke intd 
fresh sobs. " '£'s fixed it all so cunnin' nobry knaw'd 
— the owd dame she thought 'e'd fetched 'em back 'ome 
to me." 

Then followed details which left no room for doubt 
in the minds of Peter and Jenny. The unfortunate 
mother had been that day as soon as she could " slip 
off work " to see her two young children whom the 
grandmother had taken to help over one of the frequent 
bad times to which Sam's family were addicted. 

" I fair skeered the poor owd dame to death," said 
Liz, relating her tale. " ' How*s Willie an* Sue?' I sez. 
' Willie an' Sue,' sez she. ' Well, yo' should know best. 
Hannot they gwon to Sam's Uncle Dick in Australy?' 
• Wot dun yo' mean?' I yells at 'er. ' Why?' she sez. 
' I thowt it were your wish, seein' Sam's doin' naught 
to keep 'em, an' 'is uncle's well-ter-do wi' no chick or 
chile of's own.* ' Send my childher to yon Gawd-for- 
saken outlandish place, childher I've bom an' suckled 
an' raised — then yo've no mother's 'eart in yer breast,' 
I flings at 'er and jist rooshed out and took train back 
'ome. Oh, my babies, my poor babies I" She rocked 
herself to and fro, moaning helplessly. 

" Have you seen Sam? Have you heard it from his 
own lips?" asked Jenny anxiously » 


'• Aye. I've seen 'im— IVe yeard 'im, an* I've felt 
'im/' answered Liz, with sudden fury. " '£re*s 'is 
mark." She lifted the heavy fringe from her forehead 
and revealed an ugly bruise. '* But I never felt un/' 
she added recklessly. " I doan care what *e does to 
me, ru 'ave my childher back-^I will, if I walk to 
Australy an' back to fetch 'em. Sue's but eight year 
and the boy not seven till Mickelmas." 

" But it costs a deal to go t* Australy. However did 
Sam get the brass to send 'em?" asked Peter. 

" Oh, 'e noan laid out a stiver, trust 'im— 'is uncle 
an' aunt's paid an' shappt it mons since wi' Sam. '£ 
sez I shud be thankfu' 'e's got 'em so well pervided — 
'e sez I've naught to say, I'm nobbut theer mother, an' 
'cordin' to law 'e sez mothers noan be parents — but I 
dumt believe it," she broke out passionately. " It's 
lies, it must be, an' I'll 'ave th' law on 'im agen, I 

"Dumt try it, Liz," urged Peter. "You'll lose 
agen, my poor lass. We'll shap out summat, but doant 
ye touch t'law — 'tis crool 'ard is t'law, but we mun put 
up wi't." 

" Put up wi't I Aye, all you men sez that to us 
women— majistrit an' all," she answered bitterly. " Put 
up wi' kicks an' strappin's from a man as 'e gives ye 
nights when 'e knows nobry's by to witness agen 'im — a 
child at yer breast an' another comin', but magistrit, 'e 
sez, ' go wom me woman an' mak' yer 'usban' more 
comftable an' I'll wager 'e'U not go to th' ale-'ouse 
mom's reasonable, nor won' beat ye neither morn's 
reasonable!' A mighty good joke for sech as 
'im, sittin' up theer like Gawd Almighty on 'is 

Peter made no reply, save to lay his hand gently 
on that of his married sister. But Jenny's mouth was 
set in bard determined lines as she said : 



" Aye« there's man's jestice for you I A man always 
backs a man-— they're made that way." 

With an aggrieved air Peter rejoined: 

" Lord knows I durnt back up Sam nor majistrit 
neither. Sam's a blaguard— I olez said so — didn't we 
all try to stop Liz weddin* of him?" 

" Wot's the good o* harkin' back?" Liz left Peter's 
side and walked to and fro restlessly. " I wur a fool 
— doant I know't better'n any o* you I" 

" Fools baint all o' one sex," remarked Jenny, busy- 
ing herself with the kettle. " I'm goin' to mak' you a 
cup o' tea, Liz." 

"Whist I" cried Liz suddenly, backing from the 
window. " 'Ere comes Sam an' Mother with 'im. '£'s 
jawin' 'er so 'ard 'e didn't see me. I'm off— not as 
I'm skeered o' Sam, that's done wi'— but I'm not for 
makin' trouble in other folk's heauses." 

" But if 'e asks for you, what shall we say?" asked 
Jenny, showing her out by the back way. 

" Tell 'im I've gwon to see as 'e doant ship the 
rest o' my childher to hell foor 'e gits there 'imsel'," 
cried Liz, as she disappeared just in time to avoid the 
entry of a big red-faced burly man of powerful build, 
in whose wake followed* a spare, frail elderly woman, so 
immaterial she might have passed for a shadow in 
the twilight. 

"I'm come for ma wummon," shouted the red-faced 
man, looking about the kitchen suspiciously and 
flourishing a dog-whip. " Wheer is she?" He veered 
round suddenly upon Jenny. 

" Aye, Jenny," said Mrs. Clegg in persuasive, plain- 
tive tones, " dunna yo' kep 'er, lass — 'er dooty's t'go 
worn wi' 'er 'usban'." 

" Liz is noan here," replied Jenny shortly. 

" '£r wur 'ere," retorted Sam, adding threateningly, 
" Now^ no lees " 


With' a Iglance of unutterable scorn, Jenny turned her 
back upon him and took up her knitting, standing at the 

*' Liz 'as gone — she's not for makin' trouble in other 
folk's houses/' observed Peter meaningly. 

•• Oh, her's gwon, has 'er— well, I'm gooin' to find 
*er wheerever her be." His face showed an ugly snarl. 
" So p'raps you'll be informin' me wheer she's gone?" 

Jenny rounded on him sharply. 

" Maybe she's gone t' Australia to fetch 'er child- 
hern. Her childhern as she bore an' suckled an' raised 
an' slaved for " 

" You shut up yer blasted din, you damned ... or 
rU set me clogs into yo'. Liz is ma wummon, I awns 
'er 'cordin' to law, an' the brats too. I'll pervide for 
the 'ole pack as I thinks reet— and I'm goin' to learn 
'er who's master so she'll not disremember." He 
cracked his whip so ominously that it blanched the 
cheek of Lizzie's mother. 

Peter pulled himself up on his pillows. *' You're a 
cursed bully, Sam, an' if I'd the use o'my limbs I'd show 
you summat of another law, yo' white-livered cur yo'." 

" Yo' brag'ard for sech a bantam," retorted Sam 
with a sneer, " but I'll wring thee neck if thee craws 
agen. An* tak* this to go on wi', ye bellerin' scare- 
craw." He raised the dog-whip and cracked it across 
Peter's face, but the latter dodged it with an art which 
revealed experience. 

With lightning-like rapidity Jenny seized a knife 
from the dresser and darting at Sam jerked up his arm 
just as he was preparing for a second crack of the 
dog- whip. Before he realised her next move she had 
snatched the whip and flung it out of the window. 

" You touch 'im, you great cowardly hog, an' I'll 
stick this into yer ugly carcase." She brandished the 
carving-knife before his bloodshot eyes. 


" You'll swing for it^ yo* she-dule yoV' snarled Sam, 
backing however towards the door. 

'* I doan*t mind an empty bean-pod if I do/' Jenny 
advanced slowly on him as Sam backed, ** It 'ud be 
the best day's work o* my life riddin' the earth of sech 
vermin. Go^ get out o' this house, an' if you dare lift 
a finger on our Liz or her. childhern you'll 'ave me to 
reckon with." 

With a bang of the outer door Sam was gone, but in 
passing the kitchen window he thrust in his arm and 
gave them a parting crack from his retrieved dog- whip. 
*' I'll mak' yo* remember this, an* Liz too/' he 

''Oh, deary me, whatever 'U 'e do now," groaned Mrs. 
Cl^Sfit* " 'Tain't neer a bit o' good, lass, a'comin' 
'twixt mon an' wife. Liz 'as made 'er bed, pore sowl, 
an' she mun lie on't. Didn't the magistrit bid 'er go 
wom an' put up wi't?" 

"Aye, but Mother, the^r's a limit fo puttin' up," 
Peter interposed before Jenny could reply, " an' Sam's 
o'erstept all limits— we mun save pore Liz or sure 
'e'll be the death of 'er, just as Bill Noakes was of his 
wife— though they did bring it in manslaughter an* let 
'im off with six months." 

"An* the childhern," cried Jenny indignantly; 
" would you 'ave put up wi' it if Fayther'd shipt two 
of your childhern t' Australia unbeknown to you. 
Mother? You're mild as milk Lord knows, but this 
'ud a-roused you, I'm thinkin'." 

" Aye, lass, I'd a-suffered crool— but theer, wot can a 
woman do 'ginst a mon? 'E's got the law olez on 'is 
side . • •'* 

" Not if the woman can pay for't," cried Jenny. 
" If Liz was a rich lady she'd 'ave 'er divorce from a 
man like Sam, soon as look at 'im. He's been after 
others times out o' number and beat her crool too— and 



for sech things rich folk can get divorce— divorce an' 
freedom I *' 

'* Divoorce an' freedom/* repeated Mrs. Clegg in 
bewilderment^ as though her daughter had suggested 
a flight in an aeroplane. 

*' It takes a deal o' brass, I do know, does a di- 
voorce," observed Peter thoughtfully, 

" You can't get it done, 'cept in London— and then 
it costs thirty pound an' more," said Jenny. 

•• Sooner we start in th' better, then," cried Peter, 
with sudden energy, *' Doan't be downkest. Mother, 
I can make summat out o' these nets , . . and, Jenny, 
how about them checks you wur telling of?'^ 

Mrs. Clegg started and looked quickly at Jenny. 
'• Checks? Who's spoke 'bout checks?" 

" I told Peter something just to cheer *im up a bit. 
Mother — no one else knows a blessed thing about 
them," Jenny assured her. 

" Now, hearken to me. Mother, an' you, Jenny " — 
Peter's face took on unwonted determination — "I'll 
never touch that brass you've saved while I'm a livin' 
man. Give it to Liz — put it by for that divoorce biz- 
ness. Maybe we could get a lawyer chap to do the 
trick for less when he knows the circumstances — eh?'^ 

'* It's a wonderfu' idea^t fair taks awa' me breath," 
Mrs. Clegg gasped, as she contemplated the dim pos- 
sibility of deliverance for her daughter. " Liz to get 
free I '^ The tears of relief rushed to her own toil-dim 
eyes. Then a new thought chased them back in sudden 
apprehension: "But, oh dear, whatever 'd yer fayther 

" Time enough to tell Fayther when we've done it," 
observed Jenny shortly. " Thirty pound ain't goin' 
to be picked off the blackberry bushes.'^ 

" How much are them checks fetchin'? Have 'em 
out. Mother^" urged Peter. Buying a divorce appeared 


to have come suddenly within the boundary of hope, 
and even though distant it appealed to him as some 
definite object for which to live. His personal ambi- 
tions he had long ago renounced one by one, with that 
wonderful philosophic resignation which his class so 
often manifest, in common with those peoples of the 
East, who, unlike them however, possess unquestioning 
faith in the doctrine of reincarnation, and with it in the 
readjustment of all apparent injustices and hard lots. 

Mrs. Clegg turned to Jenny. ** Wheer's thee put 
un, lass? I doan't rightly remember how much we've 

Jenny lifted her skirt and unfastened a belt from 
which was suspended a small bag containing account- 
book, and checks not as yet booked at the Stores. She 
laid them out on Peter's couch, and they all commenced 
counting eagerly. 

*' Added to this 'ere in the book there mun be nigh 
on three pound," cried Peter in surprise. 

" Three pound all but one shillin' and sevenpence 
halfpenny, counting the divis in the book." Jenny 
could not succeed in keeping a little pride out of her 
voice. But the satisfaction of all was to be short- 

" What's up theer? Yeads all together like a lot o' 
owd hens peckin' up meal," cried a rough, deep voice, 
and Mr. Clegg appeared suddenly and noiselessly in 
the doorway. 

Mrs. Clegg was the first to reply. Her voice took 
on its usual apologetic tone with her lord and master. 
For Mrs. Clegg was imbued with a spirit of such 
humility that she apologised not only for rising early 
and late taking rest, while fulfilling her manifold ob- 
ligations towards her mate, such as bearing and raising 
his ten children, cooking, washing, mending, cleaning 
for the family, but even for her very existence up to 


the age of fifty-five in this strenuous service without 
pay. That she had ventured on such a bold line of 
action as saving Co-operative-Store checks unknown 
to her lord; was due to Jenny's initiative and 
her own fathomless mother-love for her wounded 
offspring. This inspired her, like the mother-bird who, 
seeing her nestlings menaced, lures the approaching 
dog to follow her to a safe distance by feigning a 
crippled wing, to draw the attention of the menacing 
master to herself. 

" Oh, *tis naught particklar^ Jim ... I wur on*y 
jest a-countin* Peter's • . .*' she faltered. But here 
Jenny rushed to the rescue, as she quickly gathered the 
checks together under her hand. 

•* You've come home early to-day, Fay ther— want yer 

" I wants no supper," replied Mr. Clegg, his sus- 
picions now thoroughly roused. " I want to know 
wot's up theer?" He pointed to the couch. 

" Liz is in a peck o' troubles agen, pore lass," began 
Mrs. Clegg tremulously, and Peter this time took up 
the tale: 

" Sam's ta'en the two childher from their gran'- 
mother's at Ratchda* an' shippt 'em off t' Australy." 

" Pore Liz is well-nigh out o* 'er wits wi't all," added 
Mrs. Clegg, her voice gaining strength. 

••T' Australy I" cried Mr. Clegg. "Well, wot's the 
terdo? Sam's noan o' my choosin', but 'e's masther in 
'is awn house, an* can put 'is childher wheer 'e plezzes. 
I'll 'ave no meddlin' 'ere 'twixt mon an' wife. Now 
I'll knaw wot you've gotten hid up so quair an' guilty 
like." He fixed his eye on his wife. 

Peter raised himself and spoke in earnest, pleading 
tones : 

" Fayther, let me tell yo'. It's some Co-op checks 
as mother an' Jenny 'ave bin savin' up for me to go 


an* get cured at Convalescen* 'Ome— but I doan*t need 
it. I want *em to give the brass to 'elp our pore Liz. 
Now youVe got the straight truth, Fayther . • ." 

'* Yes, but if Fayther wants to know more . • /* 
broke in Jenny. 

" Aye, by gum, I wants to know moor." Mr. Clegg 
left no room for doubt in his tone. 

*'Then 1*11 tell you.*' Jenny stood up and boldly 
faced her parent, and there was something in the set 
look of both that revealed their close kinship in spite 
of sex and its wide difference of soul and body training. 
■* Mother, let me speak." She silenced a feeble at- 
tempt to interpose on the part of the Mother-bird. 
"One day, nigh two years sin', I sez to Mother, * 'stead 
o' buyin' victuals an' clothes an* suchlike at shops 
close by, for why don't you go to the Co-op Stores 
down i' the town—they give you checks an' if you 
trouble to save 'em and you doan't draw your divi you'll 
get a nice little bit o' brass for your pains.' It's a 
long walk, theer an' back, but Mother's done it these 
two year, an' earned an' saved this brass "—she showed 
the book and handful of checks — " against a rainy 

** Saved ye can say— nobbut a fool, or mebbe a 
thief "—here the shadowy form of Mrs. Clegg seemed 
to wither — " could say yearned,'* replied Mr. Clegg 
magisterially. " Them checks be mine, bought wi' 
my wage, an' I've a better use for that brass than 
handin' it over to Liz an' 'er wastrel mon." 

" Nay, nay, Fayther, naught's for Sam, it's for pore 
Liz to get free on 'im— the low blaguard— it's to buy 
'jer a divoorce," explained Peter eagerly. 

" Divoorce I " Mr. Clegg's tone expressed righteous 
horror at the mere word. "I'll 'ave no divoorce in my 
fam'ly— shappin' a divoorce are ye? Hond me them 
checks.*' He turnied solemnly on his wife. 



'• Fayther/' interposed Jenny, standing midway be- 
tween her parents, ** the checks be noan yours.. They're 
Mother's by all the laws of jestice, and nobry has the 
right to touch 'em." 

" The laws of jestice, indeed I Hand yer jaw, wench. 
A woman, I'll have ye to know, has no reet to a penny 
of her mon's wage — Ihats the law o' jesticel I've bin 
a fool to gi'e her so much — I little knawed she wur 
savin' an' hoardin' for 'ersell" 

'• No' for mysel', Jim, no' for mysel'," came a plain- 
tive sound which ended in half-sigh, half-sob. 

'* Has a Wife no reets?" cried Jenny, her eyes flash- 
ing, her breath coming quick, " Is she to win naught 
for 'ersel' save labour, an' toil, an' pains o' child-bear- 
in'? Rising at five in th' morn, scrattin' like a bantam 
all day till late o' nights— toilin' an' moilin' till she's 
naught but a bag o* churchyard bones, like poor 
Mother, and never the reet to a check,, not if she walks 
four mile to win it?" 

Jenny paused, breathless, facing her father with 
flashing, defiant eyes. Mr. Clegg regarded his daugh- 
ter sternly, but without wrath. He answered her in 
measured tones, strong in the sense of his impregnable 
position, backed as he felt himself to be, not only 
by the law of his land, the tradition of generations, his 
own physical force and intrinsic superiority of sex, but 
by the innermost conviction and consent of all right- 
thinking womankind. 

*' Thy tongue's lika a clapper i' th' east wind, lass. 
Sooner thee gets a mon to learn thee howd thy jaw th' 
better for thee." Then turning to the grey shadow of 
the submissive mate who had served him faithfully for 
just on thirty years, minus reward of even a recognis- 
ing look or word which might raise her to the level 
of mate or partner: 

" fJow^ missus^ w'o's be ^heip checks an4 that Co-op 


brass, eh? Come, speak up — I'm on*y standin* for 
jestice, and yo* know it." 

'* Aye, Jim, sure an' they be yourn— it's all yourn, 
'cordin' to law." Mrs. Clegg spoke with the sincerity 
and conviction of the right-thinking woman. But even 
the right-thinking woman has a glimmering notion of 
abstract justice and the imputation of hoardin* and 
savin' for herself was more than she could bear, with- 
out a mild protest: 

" Forgive me, Jim," she went on gently, and no- 
body except Peter heard Jenny's aside — "Aye— that's the 
meanin' of ' with all my worldly goods I thee endow ' *' — 
" Forgive me, Jim," continued the patient mother-voice, 
" but 'twas no* for mesel* I saved an* hoarded, 'twere 
for Peteri the pore lad, to send un to Convalescen' 

" Convalescen' 'Ome indeed I Ye'U be sendin' 'im 
next to tak' the wathers o' Buxton wi's Majisty the 
King I'* 

" Gie 'im the checks, Jenny, for Gawd's sake/' cried 
Peter, his pale face dyed with shame, " if it's on'y to 
show 'im I dum't want to touch 'em." 

" Aye, Jenny lass^ bond thi Fayther they checks," 
urged her mother. 

Jenny placed the bag of checks and small account- 
book down on the table. 

" There they be — I'll not give them but Fayther can 
take them— only remember '* — she turned and faced him 
dauntlessly — " that brass is earned by the sweat o* 
Mother's brow— not yours." 

Mr. Clegg laid a large hand upon the checks and 
account-book, and conveying the same to a capacious 
pocket moved towards the door, muttering as he de- 
parted : 

"Fine goin's on I Savin', by gum I An' me not 
kiiowm' where to t|»ro for '^rf » cyowa," 


"You'll 'ave a bit o' supper, Jim?" called Mrs. 
Clegg anxiously after her departing spouse: "won't 
be long afoor it's ready, for 'ere come the childher." 
As she spoke, Sally and two small boys came clattering 

" No, no, I'm off," replied the father of the family. 
" This be no wom for an' *ard workin* mon in need o' 
peace an' quiet." 



Two ladies sat on the terrace of Brackenhill Hall. It 
was difficult to realise how the name had ever been 
justified, but an able staff of gardeners had achieved 
a good deal in their battle with the devastating inven- 
tions of industry, and though they could not make the 
wind-swept hill-side, about two miles out of Greyston, 
blossom as the rose, they had painted it gay with par- 
terres of geraniums, lobelias, calceolarias, and the hardy 
coleas, and by dint of much careful tending had suc- 
ceeded in preserving a tolerably green lawn throughout 
the sunmier. A few trees of former days still stood up 
bravely round the old house, though their foliage spoke 
eloquently of their sufferings under present conditions. 

Lady Walker was an energetic gardener, as her 
shady mushroom hat, big gauntlet gloves, and practical 
apron testified, not to mention the spud by her side. 
She was hot and tired from an exhausting attack on the 
plantains which refused to be exterminated from the 
lawn. But her spirit remained unbroken, and it was 
with proud satisfaction she pointed to the basket of 
the slaughtered: 

•• IVe not been idle, you see." 

Her companion smiled. ** My dear Eleanor, you're 
perfectly wonderful — you always were." 

The Hon. Mrs. Patrick O'Neil and Lady Walker 
were first cousins^ but thefre all kinship ceased. Phy- 

V 31 


sically and mentally they bore no resemblance, but this 
fact had never hindered a genuine, though not very 
intimate friendship, since girlhood. Mrs. 0*Neil, with 
her dainty grey-and-white dress, her dark brown, silver- 
flicked hair, grey eyes and clear ivory skin, reminded 
one irresistibly of a graceful silver birch. In spite 
of some fifty odd years of indifferent weather, with 
a full share of anxiety and heartache in this vale of 
tears, she had retained the soft musical voice, quick 
glinting smile, and many of the youthful enthusiasms of 
her girlhood. Her personality contrasted curiously 
with the robust objectivity of her cousin, tall, 
handsome, and majestic as a Roman matron, or to 
carry out the comparison of a tree, a finely g:rown 
Scotch fir. 

Mrs. O'Neil contemplated the brinuning basket of 

'* You are so efficient whatever you undertake," she 
went on in a tone of genuine admiration. " And I — I 
have spent the whole afternoon dreaming in lona with 
Fiona McLeodI" 

*' Tastes differ, my dear. At all events you've been 
more sensible than your daughter this broiling day. 
I suppose those girls are not back yet?" 

*' I've seen nothing of them. I expect it was hard 
to tear Mary away from the mill — she would want to see 
every corner and talk to everyone." 

Lady Walker snorted: "Well, my dear Cynthia, it 
is a most foolish idea to go over a cotton mill on a 
day like this. You can have no idea of the heat in 
those weaving-sheds and machine places." 

" Oh, that wouldn't deter Mary, if once she gets 
interested nothing daunts her, Irish enthusiasm, you 
see.'* Mary's mother smiled, as though that last trait 
were no drawback in her eyes. 

" Well, I can't conceive what there can be to interest 


her in a cotton mill— of all prosaic things in this 

'* Why the workers, I suppose. The women speci- 

" But why in the name of fortune? They are very 
well paid and perfectly happy and contented." Lady 
Walker's tone expressed no room for doubt. '* I assure 
you, my dear, they don't need any reforms or. philan- 

'* Oh, I know— please, dear, don't imagine Mary is 
anything so formidable as a reformer. She throws this 
passionate, sympathy and interest into the lives of all 
her fellow-creatures. It is not philanthropy " — a little 
sigh escaped Mary's mother — " it is something much 
more personal and intimate. • • •" 

" Whatever it b, my dear Cynthia, it ought to bei 
stopped," said her cousin, adding in a tone of solemn 
warning, " unless you want Mary to throw away all 
her chances." 

Mrs. Q'Neil laughed happily. " You might as well 
try and stop the tide from rising, or the sun from 
shining, my dear Eleanor, as stop Mary from loving 
her fellow-creatures — never mind how disastrous the 
consequences to herself." 

" But who wants to stop her loving her fellow- 
creatures, as you call it," Lady Walker answered 
shortly, " though personally," she continued, " I con- 
sider that sort of indiscriminate, widespread affection, 
most foolish and misplaced. No, Cynthia, I must con- 
fess, it is with deep regret that I see a charming, 
gifted girl, like your Mary, deliberately letting her 
youth slip by. It has been on my mind to have a 
serious talk with you ever since you came here." 

"Not too serious, I hope, dear Eleanor?" 

The grey eyes held a twinkle, but the brown ones 
of Lady Walker fixed them sternly. 

^4 yo SURf^ENDER 

•• Yes, very serious. Mark my words, if you let 
Mary go on like this, the girl will never marry." 

The alternative prospect might have included death 
in a ditch, from the tone in which the words were 
uttered. But Mrs. O'Neil refused to be solemnised. 

" Go on like what, kny dear Eleanor? Visiting cotton 

" Yes, and hospital nursing one year, and prison 
visiting the next, and plunging into all sorts of weird 
things quite unfit for a girl of her class. You will 
have her turning into a Suffragette next I She is twenty- 
seven, or eight, is it? Her good looks won't last for 
ever, my dear, and there is nothing — nothing, let me 
tell you — that puts' a man off like seeing a girl absorbed 
with things that bear no relation to himself." 

"You mean Sir Charles Crompton, I suppose?" 
Mrs. 0*Neil's grey eyes still held their twinkle, though 
her voice was becomingly serious. " But, my dear 
Eleanor, though Mary likes him in her widespread 
fashion, I 'can see he has aroused not the faintest indi- 
vidual interest in her." 

" Then Mary is an exceedingly foolish young woman, 
my dear. Sir Charles is ready to come on. I have, 
so to speak, felt his pulse " — no Harley Street doctor 
could have spoken with a more prolessional air — " He 
writes that he is coming over again to-day " — ^her hand 
indicated a pile of letters on the wicker table be- 
tween them — " and here is Mary, as likely as not to 
let him slip, while she plays with Bobbie, argues with 
the vicar, and rushes after factory girls — it's too silly I " 

" But they all equally share her interest, you see!" 
Mary's mother gave a helpless little whisp of a sigh. 

" Then they should not do so," came again the stern 
voice of duty. " Mary must learn the great art of 
concentration — the secret of woman's success, as I early 
taught my girls. You must own^ Cynthia, that con- 


sidering the awful competition in these days with 
American heiresses and their dollars, Helen and Cicely 
haven't done so badly; both going off as they did 
too, before their third season. • • •" Mrs. 0*Neil 
gave a murmur of admiring assent. " Alice of course 
has never had a proper season at all yet. It would 
be wholly superfluous, since she and your Terence are 
making a charming but foolish love match. . . .'* 

"After my own heart— and yours too, you worldly 
mother," interposed the soft voice of Mrs. 0*Neil. 

•• Well, but do you see my point, Cynthia "—Lady 
Walker quickly obliterated a reluctant smile — " Can 
you suppose for one moment that a man like Horace 
Boulder, or even Penhaven, would have been attracted, 
had Helen or Cicely shown a tendency to independent 
interests and original thought?" 

*' Original sin would have stood a far better chance, 
I should say," replied her cousin with absolute con- 
viction. But she failed to satisfy this mother of many 

" My dear Cynthia, I really wish you would take 
this thing seriously. Do you suppose even your own 
son Terence would have fallen in love with Alice had 
he found her dividing her attention between sick 
orphans, blind dogs, Armenian massacres, and Heaven 
knows what " 

" I really don't know, dear." Mrs. O'Neil no longer 
attempted to conceal the smile which rippled from her 
laughing eyes all over her face, catching upwards the 
corners of her mouth. " I only know Terence is a 
very lucky fellow and fully aware of the fact — ^and so is 
his mother who, like all mothers, is not easy to please. 
Don't think me ungrateful, Eleanor, for the interest 
you take in my Mary, but you see ..." 

"Of course I am interested in dear Mary; isn't it 
natural? You and I were always more like sisters than 


cousins, and having all my own girls settled except 
Margaret, who I need not worry about for five years, 
I feel it a duty as well as a pleasure to try and pro- 
mote a really excellent imatch which presents itself 
for your girl," 

" But you see, Mary's ambitions lie in other direc- 
tions •* 

" Other, directions?*' Lady Walker's tone was coldly 
distant. *' Doing good, I suppose you mean? And 
pray» what will her grand schemes for the benefit of 
the race amount to without a man of influence to back 
them? As could Sir Charles Crompton, for instance; 
he is very public spirited— a magistrate, and president 
of no end of boards and things." 

" Oh, I think Mary seems to get on very well in 
this world without having to hitch herself to a 
man. • • •" 

" But this world belongs to men, my dear. They 
have everything in their hands, and if a girl, however, 
good-looking or gifted, wants to be anybody, or do 
anything, it must be through marriage. It is practi- 
cally the only door open to her." 

*' I am surprised you say that. Why, I thought all 
doors were opening to women now— a woman can be a 
doctor, or a lawyer, even a mayor I" 

" Oh, I dare say. I don't mean those small boaf' 
geois careers," said Lady Walker, with lofty indiffer- 
ence. " I'm talking of girls of our class— but even the 
women of the middle classes can't rise to any sort of 
distinction in these professions. All the honours, titles, 
and orders are naturally and rightly reserved for men." 

Mrs. O'Neil gave a little puzzled frown. 

" I don't see that— how do you mean? We think just 
as highly of a woman writer or doctor or painter oc 
actress, as of a man." 

"Oh, do we I Then why don't we give them the 


same reward?" demanded her cousin triumphantly. 
" Look at Ellen Terry I She is a greater artist than 
any of these actor men who have been made knights, 
or whatever they call themselves, but who would think 
of giving her a title or burying her in Westminster 
Abbey? A woman may paint pictures or write books 
which are masterpieces— few of them do — but if they did, 
what do they get out of it? The R.A.'s and A.R.A.'8 
and X.Y»Z.'s are all for men— and quite rightly; other** 
wise it would be putting a premium on spinsterhood, 
which is already a growing danger among girls, let me 
tell you " 

" That is because their standard is getting higher, 
no doubt. But I should have thought motherhood 
would always surely • . •" Mrs* 0*Neil hesitated, her 
cousin caught her up. 

" Would you? Then my dear Cynthia, it shows you 
don't know much more of your own sex than of the 
other. Motherhood is not a girl's main reason for 
marriage — it b often a reason against it." 

" What is her reason, then? I have lived in the 
wilds of Ireland so long, thank God, I don't know." 

*' Why, what I've been trying to tell you, my dear. 
A girl who doesn't wish for ane vie manquie must 
use the one means Providence has provided for climb- 
ing life's ladder. ..." 

" I do love your metaphors, Eleanor. So the means 
Providence has mercifully provided? • • ." 

" Is a husband, my dear. No metaphor about that," 
rapped out Lady Walker. 

" I am wondering whether it is Providence or man 
himself who has so conveniently arranged things for 
his own sex. • • •" 

*' Well, I aever spend my time wondering. I accept 
life as I find it and order my steps accordingly, and 
thank goodufBss my girls do the same. I can only say 


if they had taken up such a line as your Mary, I should 
have regarded it as more fatal to their future than 
being pitted with smallpox." 

" Well, I never heard a severer indictment upon 
men I I didn't know you thought so poorly of them.*' 
But Mrs. O 'Neil's silver laugh met with no response 
from her cousin. 

•• Not at all," Lady Walker corrected severely. 
" The men who are making the wheels go round and 
driving the coach don't want a woman who is going 
to criticise their driving. A man wants a pretty, 
lively girl to sit beside him on the box, and admire 
him as a whip, not one who is longing to handle 
the ribbons herself, and I can't see you have any right 
to blame him?" 

" Who is mother disposed to blame? Not m^, I 
hope?" said! a pleasant Irish voice, and Captain Terence 
O'Neil, together with his host. Sir Godfrey Walker, 
rubicund, vigorous, and prosperous, sauntered up to 
the ladies. In their wake followed Bobbie, aged four- 
teen, only son and heir of Brackenhill and the three 
big cotton mills. 

" I am not blaming you or anyone, Terence— it is 
too hot I " answered his mother. 

Sir Godfrey took the vacant chair beside Mrs. O'Neil. 

" You always choose the better part." 

His look conunended her in every detail. 

" It is your mother-in-law-elect, Terence," said Mrs. 
O'Neil with a malicious twinkle, " who is pronounc- 
ing the severest of indictments upon your whole sex." 

" You don't say so," ejaculated Terence, while 
Bobbie, throwing himself down on the rug at his 
mother's feet, looked up at her with a delighted grin. 

" How's that. Mater? Penhaven got a jag on again?" 

" My dear Bobbie, I must beg you to remember 
there are some subjects which are not suitable foe 


your jokes — your brothers-in-law first and foremost. 
I forbid it/* said his mother severely. 

" I give you leave to practise your budding wit 
on me, when I am not there, Bobbie/' observed Ter- 
ence O'Neil. 

" The only one of the three offering no inducement I '* 
Bobbie looked at him admiringly. " But, Mater, really 
now, I should have thought you'd be thankful for 
my sense of humour. If only Cicely would cultivate 
iti . . .« 

" Bobbiei shut up,^ said his father irritably. 
'' Always trying to be funny— fatal habit, my boy— fatal 

" But why cousin Eleanor's indictment on our blame- 
less sex?'^ inquired Terence; " that's what I'm longing 
to know.** 

*• Well, if you wish to know^ then, Terence, your 
mother and I were discussing these New Women who 
think they know how to govern the world better than 
men, and stand out for independent lives, votes, and 
professions, and all that sort of thing. I say, men don't 
like them, and can you blame them? . . .^ 

"Like them I New Women and that sort? Why, 
we'd like to make a bonfire of the lot, eh, Sir Godfrey?** 
laughed Terence. 

•' New Women I Suffragettes?** Sir Godfrey looked 
up with sudden energy. *' They're past a joke. Do 
you know my agent, Roberts, has just been telling me 
they are doing me no end of mischief at this by- 
election. I had no idea of it, but he says it's serious^ 
the work of this Suffragette gang '* 

"Not really? My dear Godfrey, you don't mean 
Mr. Roberts takes these ridiculous, hysterical creatures 
seriously?" inquired his wife. 

" About time he did— and we too," be answered 


*'But please somebody do explain?'* inquired Mrs. 
O'Neil. •• Who are the Suffragette * gang/ as you 
call them? and why are they against a public-spirited 
Liberal like you^ Godfrey?'^ 

" They aren't against him personally—they're against 
the Government— any government that wisely refuses 
them the vote/' explained her son. 

" Andf according to Roberts, a more insidious, mis- 
chievous set of Meddlesome Matties ybu can't con- 
ceive/' said Sir Godfrey bitterly. " These leaders of 
theirs ought to be tarred and feathered." 

" But that Mrs. Marshall and Mrs. Sinclair? I don't 
know anything about them, but I had imagined they 
were sort of devoted philanthropists?" Mrs. O'Neil 
spoke tentatively. 

Lady Walker took up her cousin in a tone of 
righteous indignation: 

" Philanthropists I Why, my dear Cynthia, surely 
you read in the papers how all those women kicked 
and bit the poor policemen? It was a most shocking 
scene in court.'* 

" Oh y^s, I do remember now reading something of 
the sort. Mary was indignant about it because she 
loves policemen." Mrs. O'Neil always tried to find 
a point in common with an antagonist| how.ever widely 
she differed in the main issue. 

•• Your daughter, Mary?" said Sir Godfrey. ** Ah, 
I'm sure she would feel that way about it. She's a 
true womanly woman, though she is a little Irish rebel.'* 

*' Well, mother, these ' devoted philanthropists ' will be 
coming over to invade Ireland soon, so you'll probably 
be able to see them in person," remarked Terence 
O'Neil pleasantly. That anyone could " work up the 
steam/* as he expressed it, about such questions passed 
his simple comprehension. 

" Yes," ^dded Sir Godfrey gloomily. " Roberts says 


they're spreading all over the country, and have been 
strong in Scotland recently. In fact, wherever there's 
a by-election you'll find these cursed Suffragettes as 
sure as crows after carrion." 

Lady Walker shuddered, " How perfectly disgust- 
ing, -my dear Godfrey.'' 

That his simile dealt more hardly with the by- 
election than the Suffragettes, never struck either Sir 
Godfrey or his wife. These women were revolting 
birds of prey, the carrion was the rightful property of 
their betters. Mrs. Q'Neil stole an inquiring glance 
at her son, but his thoughts had flown far from crows 
and carrion. 

'* Where are the girls? Canvassing again?" he asked, 
as he rose with a patient sigh. For his part he 
wished the country could go on quietly without either 
candidates or elections. 

"Nothing so sensible; they have gone to see over 
the mills," answered Lady Walker* " They have been 
there the whole afternoon," she added pointedly. 

" I am afraid it is Mary's doing — she was so anxious 
not to put it off another day/' confessed Mary's 

" The mills I " Terence sat down again with a shrug 
of the shoulders, expressive of the hopelessness of 
coping with woman's vagaries. 

" The mills I " cried Bobbie. " Why I promised I'd 
show Mary over I Sneaky of them to give me the 
slip " 

" The mills I '* Sir Godfrey in his turn completed 
the trio of masculine disapproval. " Well, of all places 
to avoid this weather, or for that matter any weather, 
I should have named the mills. However, tastes differ, 
and ' Satan finds some mischief still,* etcetera. We must 
set those two young ladies on to the track of the 
3uffrapettes to-morrow. It \& womf^ w^Q will undei:- 


stand best how to deal with them, on the principle,*' 
he laughed, " of setting a thief to catch a thief.'* 

" Or diamond cut diamond,*' said Mrs. O'Neil. 

"It is a prettier simile, but I don't know that they 
deserve it," said Sir Godfrey. 

" They had a great success as canvassers yesterday, 
Alice tells me| so it is to be hoped they will be able 
to counteract some of the mischief done by these 
women, '^ said Lady Walker. '* Oh| why won't women 
leave politics alone I '^ 

*' Except as canvassers for men, you should add, 
Materi^'^ laughed Bobbiei *' or it sounds a bit inconsis- 

'* We certainly can*t dispense with the fair sex at an 
election," said Sir Godfrey. 

'* Wislli of course, everyone knows that, my dear 
Godfrey. But that is a totally different matter; they 
need know nothing of politics, they simply work in their 
little way to help some particular member^perfectly 
legitimate woman's work." 

The irrepressible Bobbie rubbed his hands together 
as if appreciating a fine opening in this last remark, 
but he was cut short by the butler announcing in solenm 
tones to his master: 

" Mr. 'Opton to see you^ sir. • • • Shall I show 
'im in the library?" 

•• No, ril see him out here— that is "—Sir Godfrey 
turned to the ladies — '* if you don't mind. He's one 
of these Socialist leaders, clever, pushing sort of fellow 
— probably get into Parliament, and who knows, into 
the Cabinet some day— just the type I I'd like you to 
have a look at him." 

" Rattling good chap, Hopton. I know him— used 
to be a first-class footer too," remarked Bobbie. No 
one, however, appeared interested in this information. 

" But why on earth do you back up^ such a man, 


Godfrey?" asked Lady Walker. *' I should have 
thought he ought to be thoroughly suppressed.'* 

Sir Godfrey laughed somewhat grimly. 

" rd like to see anyone try and suppress HoptonI 
Besides^ you women don't understand the machinery of 
politics— the wheels within wheels. Tm not backing 
up Hopton — I want him to back me up.'* 

He rose as he finished speaking, and advanced to 
meet a short, strongly-knit man of some thirty years 
or so, conveying an impression of strength, caution, 
and self-reliance. A man rough-hewn, straight and 
simple, hard to convince, unable to pretend. 

•* How d'y'do, Mr. Hopton— very good of you to 
step round.** Sir Godfrey shook hands affably. " Let 
me present you to Lady Walker— heard a great deal of 
Mr. Hopton, haven't you, my dear? And my wife's 
cousin, Mrs. O'Neil— and Captain O'Neil. Mr. Hopton 
is OQe of our leading men here in the Labour Move- 
ment," he explained, as Terence O'Neil rose and made 
room for the new-comer, himself strolling off to the lawn. 

Joseph Hopton bowed somewhat stiffly to the com- 
pany, but his face relaxed as he recognised Bobbie, 
and he returned his hand-grip heartily. 

" I'm no leading man. Sir Godfrey," he made an- 
swer; "circumstances have given me but little oppor- 
tunity for serving the Cause 'itherto — some day I hope 
to do so. You left word you wished me to call on you 
directly I came in, I believe?" 

" Yes, take a chair, won't you?" said his host. 

Joe Hopton somewhat reluctantly took the chair 

" I went round to your place as I wanted specially 
to have a word with you about these women. Suffra- 
gettes as they call themselves," went on Sir Godfrey. 
" We can talk freely before these ladies, as they are 
interested in hearing how the matter can be dealt with. 


First, I am anxious to know exactly what your views 
are on the subject, though I think I can make a fair 
guess /• 

** In regard to this Votes for Women question, you 
mean?" inquired Hopton. 

"Aye — do you approve of these female agitators?" 
Sir Godfrey's tone was tentative. 

" No, I do not," said Joe Hopton bluntly. ** Man- 
'ood suffrage is one thing— a right an' a just 
thing. . . •'* 

" Quite so, quite so. . . ." Sir Godfrey found him- 
self admitting a thing his soul abhorred, so great was 
his satisfaction at the first point gained. 

" But female interference in the arena of politics is, 
in my opinion, undesirable,'* continued Joe sturdily. 
" Woman's sphere is the 'ome. I don't say that the 
working woman 'asn't her wrongs equally and maybe 
more acute perhaps, than the working-man, but it's 
man's business to put 'em straight for 'er, and to 
fight the battle of life for 'er." 

" Precisely," agreed Sir Godfrey. " You state the 
case with just the clear straightforward insight I ex- 
pected from you, Mr. Hoptoa. In a word— men are 
men and women are women I There is no answer so 
clinching and unanswerable as that, after all.'^ 

Joe Hopton's brow contracted with a puzzled frown. 

" It's what I've always said — ^my very words I" cried 
Lady Walker. And then he knew he might as well 
have held his peace as try to convey his views to 
.either Sir Godfrey or his wife. 

" I should have thought that might be said with just 
as much force by the Suffragists," murmured a low 
Irish voice, which no one except Hopton heard, for 
Bobbie had slipped off to Terence O'Neil directly the 
conversation became serious. 

" But now, Mr. Hopton^ since we are absolutely at 


one on this point," said Sir Godfrey in the important 
full tones which showed he was now quite sure of his 
ground, " the next question is how to deal with these 
very objectionable ladies, who are, I fear, doing a most 
mischievous work, not only here but wherever there 
happens to be a by-election. Now, do you find they 
are making much weight among the voters in this 
place? You are in the position to feel the pulse of the 
working-man so much better than I can." 

Joe Hopton had a simple-minded| unsuspicious 
nature. He answered conscientiously: 

" The Trades Union 'as had Mrs. Marshall to speak 
in bygone days more'n once, and she knows how to 
speak and carry 'er audience along with 'er, there's no 
denyin*. But since she took up with this Suffragette 
business she's cut loose from Socialism and everythin* 
else, and we've no use for 'er. There's some of our 
Union are in favour of Women Votin', thinkin' it's 
just a means of doublin' their own, as the wife daren't 
go against 'em — but mostly men have got too much 
to do mindin' their own business to trouble much 
about the women or their votej one way. or the 

" But Mr. Roberts has been telling me that these 
Suffragettes are doing an enormous amount of mischief 
among the voters," persisted Sir Godfrey; *' they have 
lost us several elections lately — he declares all the 
agents are agreed on this. Do they get hold of the 
women about here, do you think?" 

" Some of them they do^ unfortunately." Joe spoke 
with a touch of bitterness. " Some of the mill hands. 
Why, there's a matter of thirty to forty of 'em startin' for 
London, I happen to know, next week, from Chester- 
pool— they've chartered a saloon carriage, I hear." 

"To London? What for?" inquired Mrs. O'Neil. 

" You may well ask, mam," answered Hopton. " Go- 


ing up to petition the House of Commons to giv* *em 
the vote— so they say " 

" Any going from here?" asked Sir Godfrey quickly. 

" That I Icannot say.*' Joe shrugged his shoulders. 
" You never can tell what women are up to — never " 

" Right you are/' cried Bobbie, returning racquet in 
hand. " I've learnt that much I Kittle-cattle women I 
Those girls are not back yet— a case in point I " 

" Hush, Bobbie/' said his mother. " Ring for tea, 
will you?'* 

" Well, ril have no law-breakers in my mills "—Sir 
Godfrey flushed angrily — " and that was one thing I 
wanted to consult you about, Hopton. Don't you think 
it would be advisable to make it a rule that no woman 
who joins these Suffragettes is to be taken on at the 
mill? It is a move that would meet with general ap- 
proval, eh?" 

" A rule as they'd lose their job if they joined this 
lot goin' up to London, you mean?" Joe looked at 
him steadily. 

•' Well, yes," Sir Godfrey admitted, feeling the 
steady searching gaze not altogether one of approval, 
" or joined them in any way publicly — either ranting in 
the streets, interrupting at meetings, or doing any act 
to get arrested. I'm not going to have this kind of 
thing among my hands." 

" As you ask for my candid opinion. Sir Godfrey, 
I'm bound to give it you," Joe answered sturdily: 
" I can't see as you'd be justified in any attempt to 
control the opinions of your hands— male or female. 
If they fulfil their dewties and behave decently and in 
order, it's all that an employer 'as the right to demand. 
But I would say you are within your rights in refusing 
to employ a female who gets 'erself arrested for break- 
in' the law. . • •" 

"Or in publicly parading herself as an object of 


ridicule by attempting to go to the House of Commons, 
surely r* broke in Sir Godfrey. 

'* Well — I'm not quite in a position to pronounce on 
that last pointy as regards women/' replied Hopton. 
" Females did in the past stand by the men when they 
came out to demand the vote— there were females, you'll 
remember, at the battle of Peterloo — but then, of course, 
they were standing by their 'usbands and sons, so it was 
different." He rose preparatory to going. 

" Perfectly different— of course, that was all right," 
said Lady Walker, without the vaguest notion to what 
he was referring. The battle of Peterloo might have 
been in the same category with that of Armageddon, 
for aught she knew. 

" Jolly hard lines on females, strikes me — thankful 
you didn't turn me out a girl, mother," remarked the 
irrepressible Bobbie. 

" Be quiet, Bobbie, will you," said his mother. 

" Well, Hopton, I'm heartily glad to know I have 
your support in this rather ticklish matter." Sir God- 
frey rose as he spoke, and held out a large hand. " I 
am very much obliged to you for coming up to see 

" Tea is just coming," said Lady Walker graciously. 
" Won*t you stay and have some, Mr. Hopton?" 

Joe Hopton bowed stiffly* 

" Much obliged, but I must get back, thank you, 
Lady Walker. We've got a meetin' this evenin', and 
I've got to take the chair for Will Dunn and Gus 

" Bless me, of course I" exclaimed Sir Godfrey. " I 
was forgetting all about that meeting— glad you re- 
minded me. I shall be sure and be there though." 

" I hope you'll come on the platform. Sir Godfrey," 
said Hopton. " I'll wish you ladies good afternoon." 

" I'll show you the short cut— round this way," said 


Bobbie, and they went off together through the 

" Confound the impudence of the fellow!" Sir God- 
frey sat down, a scowl replacing the affable smile. 
" No right to attempt to control the opinions of my own 
workpeople—male or female I Did you notice how he 
showed the cloven hoof as he said that?" 

Mrs. O'Neil looked up from her lace-work. 

" I saw it gleaming in the tail of his eye and standing 
up in bristles all down his back/' she laughed. 

" All very well to laugh, Cynthia— but there's a 
promising specimen of our future rulers I " 

"My dear Godfrey I" Lady Walker threw a re- 
proachful look at her cousin, " Indeed, it is no laugh- 
ing matter — that is the spirit which produced the French 
Revolution. If that man thought you stood in the way 
of the advancement of his class, he'd guillotine you 
without a qualm, and me too — such people make me 

" Not with more readiness than we'd guillotine him, 
my dear," replied her husband. " But as we can't, 
we'll shaJce hands with him and endeavour to use the 
fellow for our own wise purposes — do you see?'' 

" It is most interesting," said Mrs. O'Neil. " Do 
explain just how?'* 

" Well, it's like this, you see," Sir Godfrey answered, 
lowering his voice to a confidential tone; " Hopton is 
not standing for this constituency — ^he'd have no chance 
here against me at present, but he has a large following, 
and can give me support, which is practically indispens- 
able — against the common enemy, the Tory. In deal- 
ing with the women it is important I should do nothing 
to alienate his sympathy, nor that of my voters in the 
mills. If the men backed up these women in their 
fight for the Suffrage, I dared not interfere— as it is, 
you See, I have their support, or at all events an atti- 


tude of indifference— so I think we may regard those 
ladies as check-mated in Greyston/* 

" Rattling good chap that/' observed Bobbie, return- 
ing to the tea-table. *' If he gave himself up to it he 
could be an A I footer— thousand pities he wastes 
his time over politics and all this rot." 

His mother frowned disapprovingly. 

'* My dear Bobbie, I really don't care for your cul- 
tivating Mr. Hopton." 

" Oh, my dear, Hopton won't hurt him," remarked 
Bobbie's father. '* I think it is rather a good thing 
on the whole. Well, I'm off t6 look up my Socialist 
speech for to-night."- 

" Oh, Mother 'd rather I chtmmied up with that pom- 
pous ass, Charles Crompton," cried Bobbie, as hi$ 
father disappeared indoors. 

" Really, Bobbie, I must forbid your speaking of 
my friends in that manner." Lady Walker spoke in 
her most majestic manner. 

" Sorry, Mater— put it down to jealousy — the brut^ 
is my hated rival, you see." Bobbie drew his chair in 
appeasing fashion nearer to his offended parent and the 

"Your rival, Bobbie?" inquired Mrs. O'Neil, with 

" Yes, Cousin Cynthia, for the hand of my fair cousin. 
It is my fondest ambition to own you for a mother-in- 
law. Ahl" he cried suddenly, "speak of the angel 
and you see her wings 1 Hurrah, here they come at 

And off went Bobbie with seven-league strides to 
meet two big muslin hats which appeared intermittently 
among the shrubbery of the drive. Together, with 
Terence O'Neil they all soon came in full view. Two 
charming girl-faces showed beneath the muslin hats, 
one all smiles and dimples with a colour like the 


briar-rose, the other pale as moonlight, of a sweet 
seriousness, and with eyes that made one think of a 
mountain tarn. 

" My dear children, what an age youVe been," re- 
monstrated Alice's mother. 

" I have had hard work to drag Mary back at all," 
said her daughter, throwing herself down in the rocker 
Terence O'Neil drew forward for her. " She made 
tremendous friends with one of the mill-hands— a girl 
in the weaving-shed— and wanted to go home to tea 
with her I Yes, flattering for us, isn't it?" 

" Oh, Mary I" Her mother looked gently reproach- 

" Forgive me. Cousin Eleanor," laughed the culprit. 
•• But Jenny Clegg made me forget everything. I've 
had the most wonderful time. But oh, that weaving- 
shed — the pandemonium— the din— the suffocating heat I " 

" Well, my dear, didn't I tell you so I You shouldn't 
have gone." Lady Walker could not keep a little 
asperity out of her voice. 

" Why did you sneak off without me? Too bad," 
grumbled Bobbie, as he handed the tea and cakes. 

" Yes, and she stayed there nearly two hours," went 
on Alice maliciously. " I can't stand it two minutes. 
I went into that nice new room they have built for the 
directors, and talked to Mr. Smith." 

" And the time passed so pleasantly, Terence, she 
thought it was two minutes. Yes, Miss Alice, it's my 
turn now,'* said Mary. " But the time passed even 
quicker for me," she went on eagerly. " The looms 
stopped working at about four o'clock as they are just 
now doing short time, and oh, the blessed relief when, 
as by magic, the network of wheels cease whirring 
just over your head, and the looms stop whizzing, and 
the shuttle stops darting to and fro, and your brain 
can begin to think again. We had only been able to 


make signs and lip-read up to that — Jenny and I— but 
then we rushed, with the rest, into the blessed fresh air, 
and drew in long draughts of it like thirsty men in the 

" My dear Mary, but what do you expect on such 
a day in a cotton mill?— do be reasonable." Lady 
Walker spoke in defence of her mills. 

" Oh, / didn't mind, Cousin Eleanor," Mary has- 
tened to assure her. " I have never been more in- 
tensely interested in my life. I want to go every day, 
if I may, while I'm here. What a fine, strong, in- 
dependent set they are I I love these North-Country 
girls — such grit in them, and so delightfully friendly. 
They just treat you as an equal." 

" Sounds charming that I I shall visit them myself, 
I think," remarked Terence. 

" I can tell you it made me feel small to see the 
marvellous way those women work," Mary went on, 
heedless who responded to her enthusiasm, but sure 
always of her mother's quiet sympathy. " Such dex- 
terity and precision — four looms at once — it would be- 
wilder me to attempt two. And standing all day, poor 
dears I '* 

" They don't feel it in the least, my dear; they are 
used to it," remarked Lady Walker. 

" Oh, don't you think they must?" Mary's voice 
held a pleading note. " Some of them I noticed slung 
a strap across two looms and surreptitiously tried now 
and then to sit down a moment when that Loom 
Jobber's back was turned, but he is Argus-eyed, that 
man " 

" I know, just like old Byles at school." The plead- 
ing note had not been lost upon Bobbie. " Those sort 
of reptiles ought to be struck blind by a just God," he 
pronounced with energy. 

" No doubt you*d like to reform the mill system, my 


dear." Lady Walker raised her eyebrows, and drew 
down her chin. Mary felt a little chilled, and paused. 
Her mother interposed gently: 

" Oh no, I'm sure, dear Eleanor, Mary never 
meant ..." 

" Oh yes, Cousin Cynthia, she did though," Alice 
laughed mischievously. " Molly, I'm going to give 
you away as you were so sneaky about Mr. Smith. 
Listen everybody — she'd give all the ' hands ' seats to 
begin with— ^rm-chairs if possible — then she'd invent 
a new loom which prevented the shuttle flying out and 
striking the workers • • ." 

" Oh yes, I would do that." Mary interrupted in 
spite of herself. " Think of that poor fellow losing his 
eye last week, and Jenny's brother, who has been on 
his back five years.'* 

" Oh yes," went on Alice. " And she'd have new 
ventilators to clear the air of all the cotton fibre— let 
me go on, Mary— and she'd take away the directors' 
nice new dining-room and give it to the mill-hands, so 
that they needn't sit on the floor of the shed for their 
midday meal and breathe the same air all day. And 
she'd fit up the room with papers and books and a 
piano, and flowers, and • • •" 

"Hold on, Alice!" — Mary was laughing herself by 
now, though with a feeling that " all the fat was in the 
fire " — " I never said a piano and flowers. ..." 

" I bet she did, Alice," said Terence, " and teach 
them Brahms' songs, eh?" 

"Of course she did"; loyally Bobbie came to the 
rescue of his adored lady. " And I'll see they have it 
when I manage the mill, Molly, and if you'll marry 
me, we'll have a jolly good dance there once a week 
for the • hands.' " 

" Well, my dear, you'd better talk to my husband 
s^bout it," observed Lady Walker stifily. " Hear what 


he says— no doubt he will be ready to take up your 

Mary missed the stiffness. She never took offence 
herself, and never saw wfien others did so, not from 
lack of perception, but from sheer absorption in her 
subject. She answered in all innocence : 

" Indeed, I will, with pleasure, if you think he won't 
mind. Oh, but Mother " — she turned shining eyes on 
Mrs. O'Neil — "you simply must meet Jenny CleggI" 

" Oh, Molly mavourneen, Jenny Clegg will keep. 
Come and play singles," cried Bobbie, waving his rac- 
quet impatiently: "Those other two are hopeless." 
He looked despairingly at his sister and Terence 

" By and by, Bobbie dear— I'm too hot just now," 
said Mary. She turned to her mother and went on: 

" You must come and see her. Mother, and hear some 
of her ideas. She speaks with a sort of sincerity and 
fervour that simply sweeps one along with her — she 
would delight you." 

" Speaks 1 What about?" Lady Walker's eyebrows 
were arched like a mark of interrogation. 

" Oh, liberty and justice and truth— true patriotism," 
replied Mary, with simple fervour. 

Lady Walker smiled compassionately. 

" One of these Socialists, my dear— Mr. Hopton's 
friends — the place swarms with them." 

"Oh no " — Mary protested earnestly — " Jenny Clegg 
cares no more for politics or parties than I do. Really 
and truly she is more like my idisa of the peasant maid, 
Jeanne d'Arc, than anyone I ever met. She has heard 
a voice, that girl, telling her to come out and fight for 
a sacred cause, and she is ready to die for freedom and 

" My dear child, you are not in Ireland," said her 


" I should scarcely have thoughti nowadays, anyone 
in their senses could complain of suffering from lack 
of freedom and justice/' said Lady Walker severely; 
" only a Socialist could talk such stuff." 

" Oh, but Cousin Eleanor, it is women she wants to 
help— women of her own class." 

" Why, the women in these mills get better wages 
than any women workers in the kingdom." 

" I know, that's just it," Mary went on eagerly, " but 
they are proposing a Bill to take away the textile work 
from the women. And it is not just of herself Jenny is 
thinking; it b of other women — ^those millions whose 
average wage is five shillings a week. Oh, the law is 
so unjust to women I Mother, did you know that a 
mother has legally no right to her own children — ^the 
father can send them right away to Australia, if he 
likes? It has just happened to Jenny's own sister." 

"My dear, are you sure?" Mrs. O'Neil questioned 
gravely. "No legal right! It sounds impossible." ' 

" Quite sure," reiterated her daughter. " It has been 
tried in court — quite lately." 

" Oh Lord, here's Mary in the Law Courts now," 
cried Terence O'Neil, suddenly joining in. 

" My dear Mary, you may be sure there is good 
reason for such laws, or they would not have been 
made," said Lady Walker. 

" There now, Mary, that's the right spirit in which 
to take life," said her brother. Then turning to his 
fiancie he murmured, " Well leave them alone-— they're 
in the thick of it. I'm thankful you are not a politician 
or a philanthropist, darling I" 

" Well, but Mary, my dear, what remedy does your 
mill-girl suggest for these grievances?' asked her 
mother, noticing that the last remark had not escaped 
Mary, and seemed suddenly to silence her. 

" Ah, that's just it." Mary's brow cleared. " There 


is only one possible remedy, and that is that the 
women's point of view should be represented in the 
making of laws which so vitally affect them and their 
children — and that through the vote." 

**Ah, now we have it at last I" Lady Walker wore 
the triumphant look of the patient angler landing his 
long- played fish. " I thought that was coming. A 
Suffragette masking as Joan of Arc!" 

At the word Suffragette, Terence O'Neil turned 
sharply, unable to keep out of it. 

*' Well, Mary, your friends had better look out. That 
crew are getting themselves into trouble working 
against the Government, as they call it, but in reality 
setting everybody by the ears. Sir Godfrey is going 
to put them down with a high hand, let me warn 

•• Yes, my dear Mary," added Lady Walker. •* We'll 
have none of them here — ^hysterical, unsexed creatures, 
with a mania against men." 

" I do wish you had all heard Jenny Clegg— no one 
could call her unsexed or hysterical. She is not work- 
ing against men — she is working for them really, just 
as much as for women," answered Mary earnestly. 

" How kind and noble," remarked Terence, with 
a comic gravity which enchanted Alice. 

" Because, don't you see," Mary continued, " the 
cause of men and women can't be divided. If the 
mother suffers, her boys as well as her girls suffer with 
her and through her. A bad husband is a bad father, 
yet a working woman can't get a divorce, however sad 
her case, for it means going to London, and costs 
about thirty pounds." 

" Really, Mary dear, I should leave divorce laws 
alone until I was married, if I were you," remarked 
Lady Walker. Upon which the rest laughed, but 
Mary's mother did not even smile. A presentiment of 


coming disaster and trouble for her '* heart's delight *' 
cast its shadow over her. 

" Molly'uU never need divorce laws, if she marries 
met" cried Bobbie promptly. 

" Didn't I say you oughtn't to have let those girls 
go over the mill this morning/' said Terence indul- 
gently. '* It is as plain as a pikestaff poor Molly has 
had a sunstroke." 

Mary smiled. " That's not half a bad simile, 
Terence — the same kind of sunstroke St. Paul got on 
the road to Damascus. Here I had been inveighing 
against Suffragettes as hysterical and unfeminine — ^be- 
lieving the silly accounts I had read in the newspapers, 
though never having met one. And then suddenly I 
come face to face with a real live one — radiating truth 
and courage and devotion like a little sun— and she 
gives me a stroke, like the king gave his knights of 
old—' Arise, Mary O'Neil, a Suffragette from this day 
forth.' •• 

Terence O'Neil tapped his forehead significantly and 
groaned. Mary was spared any further sign of lamen- 
tation and disapproval which might have followed this 
startling announcement by the approach of a motor 
tearing up the drive, emitting a peculiarly aggressive 
sound, which effectually switched off everyone's attention. 

"The CromptonsI" exclaimed Lady Walker. 

" For God's sake let's escape," whispered Terence 
to Alice. And the two vanished suddenly into thin air. 
Mary would have followed their example with Bobbie's 
assistance, but Lady Walker laid a firmly detaining 
hand upon her arm: 

" No, my dear, they have seen us all as they drove 
up. It is not fair to leave your mother and me alone to 
receive them.'* 

Mary sat down with a sigh of resignation. Bobbie 
gave her a parting look of conuniseration. 


" Dear Miss Crompton, how good of you to come 
over in this heat I" Lady Walker greeted cordially a 
spare wiry lady in plain tailor-made attire, with domi- 
nating nose, and eyes which would have been attractive 
had they not been placed so close together. She moved 
and spoke with the energy of a dynamo. Her com- 
panion, a tall good-looking man, faultlessly groomed 
even after a dusty motor drive, followed his sister like 
a well-appointed yacht in the wake of a steam tug. 

" And yoU| Sir Charl^s—I thought you abhorred 

'^' I do, but my sister insisted on trying her new 
Panhard on me to-day.'* Sir Charles sank into the 
low chair at Mary's side. " What woman wills," he 
added, lowering his voice and turning to Mary, " that 
man must obey — isn't it so?" 

" Is it? I should like to see it put into practice in 
a few instances I could name," laughed Mary, ignoring 
the confidential note, and speaking for the benefit of 
everyone, as she rose to help Lady Walker pour out 
fresh tea. 

" You shall see it put into practice in every instance 
when you will deign to use your prerogative," Sir 
Charles murmured softly, as he followed her. " Won't 
you begin at once?" 

In vain Mary tried to escape a tite^d^iSte. 

" No, I think I'll give you time to recover from the 
Panhard test. Mine may prove even worse, you know." 

" Not an aeroplane, is it? though I might even 
venture that with you," he replied gallantly. Then 
drawing a book out of his pocket he carefully un- 
wrapped it from the paper covering, disclosing a dainty 
old-fashioned leather binding. 

" These are my grandmother's ' Memoirs ' of which 
I spoke to you, Miss O'Neil; I think the book will 
interest you. I hope so — very much." 


" Thank you. I should like to look at it. What a 
delightful binding/' but Mary spoke half absently, for 
she was trying to follow a conversation that had sud- 
denly arrested her attention. 

" I want you to admire the inside also," persisted the 
quiet, determined voice at her side. " My grandmother. 

bore the same beautiful name as yourself " He 

paused, realising that Mary's eyes were fixed on his 

*' Yes,'* Miss Crompton was saying in her incisive 
tones, " an Anti-Suffrage League, that is what we are 
starting — Mrs. Prendergast, Mr. Noel Crowley, Lady 
Thistlethwaite, myself, and several other influential 
people •• 

" Ah yes, I am sure you ladies here will give your 
hearty support and sympathy to this,*' said Sir Charles, 
with an approving look at his sister. The latter con- 
tinued her discourse with scarcely a pause: 

" How gravely this is needed we have only lately 
realised. The evil is spreading like wildfire — this can 
be proved by the enormous sums they collect, though 
the vast majority are women with little enough money. 
It is, therefore, a question of numbers. Six thousand 
pounds the other day at that Albert Hall meeting I Of 
course the thing must be stopped — put down with a 
high hand and without loss of time. We want you, 
my dear Lady Walker, to be on the active council." 
It was the expression of a decision, rather than a 

Lady Walker had followed every word up to this 
point with little approving nods of her majestic Roman 
head, but at this practical test presented to her she 
ceased nodding, and drew back ever so slightly: 

" You have my hearty sympathy, my dear Miss 
Crompton, my most entire approval, believe me. Oddly 
enough we were discussing these awful women this 


afternoon, but don't ask me to do anything active or 
to give subscriptions. My dear, that bazaar {£te last 
month simply ruined met*' 

" Oh no, you need do nothing except give your 
name and get every influential woman of your acquaint- 
ance to become a member," Miss Crompton hastened to 
assure her. " Members need only pay a yearly half a 
crown, or a shilling, if they prefer it. Members of the 
council nothing at all, unless the spirit moves them. 
Mrs. O'Neil and you. Miss O'Neil, I may put down 
your names, I feel sure, may I not?*' 

" Well, but "—Mrs. O'Neil hesitated—" I don't think 
I quite understand the object of your society. Who is 
it you are desirous of helping?" 

" Helping?" Miss Crompton looked politely mysti- 
fied. " Helping?" she repeated. " Our object is to 
hinder, not to help— to hinder a mischievous agitatioii 
and snuff it out as soon as possible." 

" Well, it is to help us poor men, Selina," inter- 
posed her brother. " Don't say it is not a helpful 
movement, for it is so most pre-eminently." 

" Oh well, yes, of course," laughed his sister. " It 
is certainly to help you men." 

" We can't get on without the help of you ladies, you 
know." He turned again to Mary, whose gaze was 
riveted curiously on his sister. Her cheeks were 
faintly flushed, her breath came quickly. She made 
no answer to his remark. Disconcerting though it was, 
he doubted if she had even heard him. But he went 
on determinedly: 

" The fact is, the thing is becoming a regular per- 
secution of all those in any sort of office. I assure you 
we men are never safe from these creatures." 

Mary turned on him then, and her eyes held a 
warning to anyone more accustomed to reading 


" From the women who are petitioning for a vote, 
do you mean?" 

" Petition is hardly the term." He smiled compla- 
cently. " Aggressively demanding, I should rather say. 
A modest petition was the attitude adopted by the old 
Suffragists, and was harmless enough. These Suffra- 
gettes are violent law-breakers, ready with stones and 
brickbats, and I have no doubt, unless put down with a 
strong hand, vitriol, bombs, and anything else. But we 
magistrates have resolved to put the thing down, and 
give no quarter. I had three of these women to deal 
with to-day, arrested for persistent interruptions at 
Mr. Blatberton*s meeting in Chesterpool yesterday." 

" How inmiensely interesting/' said Lady Walker; 
" do tell us all about it.** 

Everyone gave their attention, including Bobbie, who 
had stolen back to see how Mary was treating his hated 

" I refused bail," continued Sir Charles magisterially, 
" so they had to cool their heels in the police-station 
all last night, and this morning, as they were old 
offenders, I gave all three of them six weeks in the 
second division, which I trust will damp their ardour, 
and bring them to their senses, if they have any/' he 
added, with a contemptuous smile. 

" I am delighted to hear it. Sir Charles," cried Lady 
Walker with enthusiasm. '* A strong man is what they 
need to put them in their place. *^ 

Mary's voice held a challenge as she asked sud- 

" But what had these three women done? Merely 
asked a question? I thought men always asked ques- 
tions at such meetings?" 

Sir Charles looked at her uneasily. He had made 
so sure of her approval. His sister replied promptly, 
and $aved him the answer he could pot at oncQ frame, 


** Done I What had they not done, my dear Miss 
0*Neil? Why they deliberately broke up a Cabinet 
Minister's meeting just when question time came, and 
it promised to become really interesting. These crazy 
females began yelling one after the other, ' Votes for 
Women,' 'When will you do justice to women?* till 
the whole place was in an uproar. Then, after the 
stewards had simply dragged them out of the hall, 
they held a protest meeting, if you please, outside. 
I've travelled in all parts of the world, as you know, 
among savages, cannibals, and Red Indians, but never 
in my life have I beheld such awful unsexed creatures^ 
and one, if you'll believe me, was a school-teacher, and 
another a hospital nurse, the third was a grey-haired 
widow woman who ought to have been looking after 
her grandchildren by her own jfireside. Shocking! their 
coats were torn, their hats battered in, one had a 
sprained ankle, and another a black eye, owing to their 
tussle with the stewards. I assure you it made one 
blush for one's sex." 

•• Well, it did this good," said Sir Charles, " terribly 
distressing scene though it was— it made you ladies 
on the platform resolve to squash the whole revolting 
movement, and it made us resolve to admit no more 
women to political meetings for the present. It brings 
out what is regrettable in both sexes. *^ 

He turned half appealingly to Mary as he concluded, 
but she moved back her chair^ and rising to her feet 
spoke in low impassioned tones, which made her 
mother's breath come quickly in nervous sympathy. 

" It seems to me the people I should have blushed 
for would have been the men who stood by and let 
three helpless women be handled in such a brutal way, 
simply for asking when women who pay taxes were 
to have the right to vote." 

"Helpless wpipeiil'* ^claiiped Miss Crompton, 


" My dear Miss O'Neil, that is Ae last way you could 
describe these viragoes. They kicked and scratched 
and hit out with umbrellas. They would have killed 
those unfortunate stewards, if they could. Helpless I 
It took eight stewards fo drag that elderly woman out 
of the hall, for two idiotic men in the audience came 
forward and took her part, causing a regular pande- 

" Ohy I assure you, Miss O'Neil, they don't merit 
your sympathy/' murmured Sir Charles sadly. " You 
would have felt as my sister did had you been present.'* 

'' I am quite sure / should," said Lady Walker 

" And I am quite sure / should not^** rejoined Mary, 
with flashing eyes. *' Why should Mr. Blatherton re- 
fuse to answer their question? He answers any ques- 
tions put to him by men. Why should these women 
be dragged out of the hall? Why should they be re- 
fused bail, if to others it would have been given, and 
why should they be treated as though they had com- 
mitted a crime and sentenced to six weeks among 
thieves and drunkards? You magistrates don't dare treat 
our Irish agitators so. There are millions of women^ 
earning their living and paying taxes, who need the 
vote just as badly as men ever needed it. I respect 
and admire these noble women who have the courage 
to come forward and fight for the liberty of those who 
cannot fight for themselves. I should be proud to 
help in sucU a cause^^ and I blush not for these brave 
women who stand up alone to face an angry meeting, 
but for those women who would found a league against 
them. Forgive me, Cousin Eleanor, for speaking so 
plainly— I am Irish, you see." She gave a little laugh, 
which almost broke into a sob. " I think, Sir Charles, 
I won't read this book of your grandmother's 
• Memoirs,' thank you," She turned ^nd beW out the 


book, which he rose and took from her with a low 
bow. " I am going to be too busy learning about the 
women of my own day, and seeing if I can't do some- 
thing to help them.*' 

So saying, she walked quickly down the garden 
path. There was a silence, a silence in which one 
could feel the atmosphere charged with fiercely conflict- 
ing and distressful thought, more eloquent than a 
chorus of spoken words. Then Bobbie ran after the 
tall, slight figure in white, just vanishing into the 
shadow of a clump of sycamores. 

" Hurrah, Molly mavoumeen I *' he shouted. " Sure 
an* I'm with ye I Three cheers for the Suffragettes I*' 



It was evening about a week later. In the Cleggs' 
comfortable kitchen they had just finished supper. Mr. 
Cleggi having seasoned his fare with only a moderate 
amount of grumbling— »the honest Briton's prerogative — 
his wife's thin, patient face wore an expression almost 
of content as her lord and master departed to his club. 
The three younger children jumped up from the table 
and clattered forth into the street, 

" Doan't be late," called Jenny after them. " Tis 
all very well for you lads, but Sally's a full-timer 
now, and 'tis not one knocker-up can rouse her morn- 
in's—she needs a dozen." 

" I shall come winter time," laughed Sally; " but 
wot's five o'clock of a summer's morn." 

" That's not the tune thee sang this morn," laughed 
'Jenny, as the children went off, and she set to work 
helping her mother clear the table and wash up plates 
and dishes. 

Peter's sofa was drawn up to the open window, look- 
ing on to the "Street. He took up his netting and 
worked with the same quick, nervous energy his mother 
and sister employed on their labour— it was infectious. 

Presently there was a rap at the front door of the 
parlour. Jenny went to answer it. 

"May I come in just a moment?" said a voice 
which brought a smile of pleasure to Peter's wan face, 
and in walked Mary O'Neil. 



*' Good evening; everybody. I just called to know 
whether Peter would care to go and have a little sea 
air at Blackpool? — Now don't say no till youVe heard 
more about it. 'An old friend of mine has a little house 
there, and she wants to have someone as company 
for a nice young fellow she's got there for the summer. 
So you see, Peter, you'll be doing a real kindness " 

Mrs. Clegg came forward, speaking with timid eager- 
ness, as though she feared opposition and would fore- 
stall it if possible. 

" It 'ud do 'im' a deal o' good, Miss O'Neil, an' it's 
real kind o' you t' 'ave thawt o' it." 

•'Aye, 'tis sure," interrupted Peter; "but I can't 
be imposin' on you like that. Miss O'Neil— indeed an' 
I can't." 

"Imposing!" cried Mary. "Now what are you 
talking about, Peter? Jenny, do help me^isn't he 
talking nonsense?"- 

Jenny shook her head somewhat sadly. 

" We couldn't allow %is lady friend of yours nor 
you to be at no expense, you see. Miss O'Neil — ^that's 
where it is. But do sit down a minute," she added, 
bringing forward a chair. 

" Now really, Jenny, I shall be very cross with you, 
for you ought to know better." Mary drew her chair 
near Peter's sofa and sat down. "Aren't we women 
all bound together in a common cause to make the 
world a little better and happier— working shoulder to 
shoulder, like soldiers in a regiment? What would 
you think of the man who refused to share a flask of 
water or loaf of bread with his comrade on the battle- 
field when his own happened to be empty? Why, we'd 
call him a surly fellow not to take as freely as he'd 
give. Now don't you be a surly fellow, Jenny I " 

Jenny laughed, even Mrs. Clegg gave a shadowy 
echo^ but Peter only sighed. 


•* Nor you, Peter, either," Mary went on; "and 
remember you'll be doing a real kindness in being com- 
pany for that other lad. Could you be ready to start 
next Tuesday?*' she asked with a smile nothing of 
Peter's age could possibly resists He found no 
words, but Jenny saw how it was and answered for 

** You've got a wonderfu' way of puttin' things. Miss 
O'Neil " — she hesitated, lodcing at Peter — " makes one 
feel small and mean to say ' No ' to you, somehow." 

" That's right— bravo I " cried Mary triumphantly. 
" Nothing small and mean about you, Jenny I And you, 
Peter, you will let me have this great pleasure, won't 
you now?" Mary turned the full battery of her Irish 
eyes upon him. 

'* I reckon I don' know exackly wot to say." He 
looked towards Jenny wistfully. 

" Please leave it like that," pleaded Mary. " I do 
so love bossing people — ^you don't know how happy it 
makes me." She rose, taking 'Peter's hand. "Now I 
must fly, or I'll be late for dinner, and get into hot 
water again, as usual. Good night, Mrs. Clegg. Good 
night and thank you so much, Peter." 

Jenny followed her into the parlour and opened the 
street door. 

"We'll be meetinjg again soon, I expect, Jenny." 
Mary lowered her voice. " It's all fixed, eh?" 

Jenny gave an expressive nod and wished her good 

" She's the right stuff, she is," remarked Jenny on 
her return to the kitchen. 

" She's sech a way wi' 'er— she'd make you see 
black white," laughed Peter. The prospect of sea air 
and restored health had put new life into him already. 

"Aye, an* I'll tell you for why," said Jenny; " she 
lets in the light, and the blackness is bound to go. 


she's like the sun. You know. Mother, she's got Liz 
taken on at Bennet's again?*' 

" Aye, that were^ a good day's work/* observed Mrs. 
Clegg, with a deep sigh of relief at the prospect of one 
burden lightened. 

"You seen Liz to-day?" Peter inquired of his 

" Aye, I saw her. She says Sam's off to London 
t'earn a livin' marchin' round with the unemployed," 
answered Jenny with grim humour. 

" 'Pears as some yearns quite a middlin' lot o* brass 
at that game," observed Peter thoughtfully. 

" Anyway, 'tis a. blessed good riddance for Liz," 
said Mrs. Clegg, 

" We'll hope London 'ull keep him," said Jenny. 
" He's given naught to Liz save blows for many a long 

" London must be a wonderfu' place— yon book tells 
ye all yo' can see theer." Peter pointed to a big 
volume by his side. 

"Aye, no deaubt 'tis wonderfu', is Lunnon, but we 
mun put up wi' Greyston, lad," remarked his mother 
as she spread out a blue check tablecloth and set to 
work on the never-ending mending for the family, 

" Since we'm not th' unemployed, eh I" added Peter, 
his eyes on the hard-worked fingers of the toiling 
mother, who had never known a single day's unemploy- 
ment. She, too, had doubtless had her youthful dreams 
and aspirations, for she nodded her head as he enu- 
merated his oft-dreamed-of delights. " Theere's the 
Teawer, an' th' Crown jewels, an' the Zoological Gar- 
dens, an' Madam Tussors " 

" Aye, an' the Houses o* Parliament where those 
grand good men make sech grand good laws for us 
women," Jenny suddenly interrupted. " Mother, I've 
something to tell you " — she paused, and both looked 


up inquiringly — '* Tm goin* to London one o' these 
days, me an* thirty other mill-hands.'* 

•• Coin' to Lunnon?" Mrs. Clegg's mending dropped 
from her hands in sheer amazement. '* Lor', Jenny^ yo' 
do make me jump times." 

••For why. Mother?** broke in Peter. "Jenny's 
ne'er had an outin*, as I can remember, further'n Ches- 
terpool. You*ll be goin* wi* Travel Cloob, Jenny?** he 
asked eagerly. It seemed as though the prospect of 
Jenny's journey to London drew the enchantment within 
reach of his own longing spirit. 

"We*ll be goin' with the women's 'Travel Club,' 
lad. We'll not be drest up in latest fashions, but jest 
as we go to mill, the shawls round our heads and the 
clogs on our feet. We're goin' to London for a week, 
maybe, but 'tis not to see the wax men o' Madame 
Tussor's, 'tis to see the stone men of Westminster." 

" Whatever be thee talking 'bout, lass?" Mrs. Clegg 
looked as hopelessly at sea as she felt. Like the 
*' Mother Duck *' she was staggered at the sudden 
evolution of the swan she had unwittingly hatched. 

" Thee's talkin' wonderfu' strange parables, Jenny," 
said Peter sternly. " I'm no' keepin' pace wi* you. 
Whecr'U ye be lodgin*?" 

Jenny's voice took on a tone of serious purpose, 
new to the ear of her brother: 

" Likely as not we'll be lodgin' in one o* the palaces 
of 'is Majesty the King. It won't cost nobry nought. 
The King, he gives you board an' lodgin' an' clothes 
too — ^wonderful generous he be sometimes, the King." 
She ended with a little short laugh at her own joke. 

But her mother could see no joke. " Wotever be 
thee talkin' abeaut, lass?" she repeated with puzzled 

Then Peter answered gloomily: "She be talkin' o' 
prbon. Mother. I misdoubted ye*d some prank afloat^ 


Jenny. Whisht I*' he cried suddenly, "here comes 
Mrs. Toppin."' 

The face of a comely energetic woman somewhere 
between thirty and forty looked in at the window, 

" Come in, yo*re just in time, Mrs. Toppin," cried 
Jenny, going round to the door and admitting this 
welcome neighbour, with her bright, intelligent eyes 
and cheery ringing voice. 

** I was just telling them as we women are off to 
London to ask the Parliment to give us our vote," ex- 
plained Jenny, " same as they've given it to the men." 

" That's so," observed Mrs. Toppin with a cheerful 

" You'll be nought but fools to thry it," remarked 
Peter shortly. 

"And for why?" demanded Mrs. Toppin, still with 
her pleasant smile. " We needs our vote worse 'n ever 
you men did, and wots sauce for t 'gander is sauce for 
the goose. Now hain't that so, Miss' Clegj;?" 

Mrs. Clegg shook her head depreciatingly. " I've 
niver 'ad ter do wi' politicks. Miss' Toppin; my 'ead 
cudn't 'ave bore it. Tak' a cheer, won't you?" She 
pulled forward Mr. Clegg's own arm-chair for the 

" You'd be nought but fools to thry it, that's wot I 
sez," reiterated Peter. 

" It's such fools as move mountains, lad," said his 
sister, her eyes sparkling. " Men died to win their 
vote, an' there's women ready to die now to win theirs." 

*' Aye, an' the time's ripe when it coomes to thrying 
to take away women's work in mill," said Keziah Toppin, 
her face grown serious, " like that Blore is a thrying, 
shame be to 'im, an' 'e a workin' mon as knows what 
a woman's life is. I'd like to 'ave the dressin' down 
of 'im misel', I wud," she added vehemently. 

" I'm not sayin' as it baint right you shud 'ave your 


vote, but theer's nought ye can do/' protested Peter, 
" 'cept get put in prison, same as they served the 
women in Chesterpool th' other day/* 

" Through prison bars to liberty---doan't forget your 
history, Pether, you as be summat of a scholar/' said 
Mrs. Toppin. 

"Aye, but they were men. Yo're nobbut women 
after all^ Miss' Toppin, and women are no good for 
fightin' and soldierin\" 

" Nay, nay, fightin *s no for women," sighed Mrs. 
Clegg with a conviction that bespoke if not personal 
experience at least that of an eye-witness. 

" Joan of Arc was nobbut a woman," observed 
Jenny, "an* a lass at that I When women sets their 
minds to a job they mostly win through." 

" Aye, an' we'm goin' to win through wi' this job," 
said Mrs. Toppin. "Theere's a meetin' to«-neet, 
Jenny "—she spoke aside—" yo're coomin', hain't yo'? 
Theere's a heap to settle about the deputation to Lon- 

" Yes, I'm comin'. Miss* Toppin— sure," Jenny an- 
swered quietly, not so quietly, however, that it escaped 
the anxious ears of her mother. 

"Oh Jenny, wotever'U yer fayther say?" 

" Never fear, Mother; I'll fix it with Fayther. He 
needs the brass I'm givin' for th* home, an* I've saved 
so as I can give ye the same. Mother, time Tm away. 
Don*t be downcast," she added gently; " I'll soon be 
back again 1" 

Peter moved restlessly on hb narrow couch. " 'Tis 
a losin' game, I'm feerin'l" 

" Folks as fight for freedom always win," said Jenny. 

"Not the way you'm goin* to do it, I'll wager," 
retorted Peter. 

" Nay, lad, but we're beaund to win freedcmi as we 
jcdges best/' said Mrs. Toppin stoutly. " Freedom to 


live an honest life on decent wage— freedom to awn the 
childhern weVe bore an* raised. Think o' your awn 
daughter Liz^ Miss' Cleggt*' 

•* Oh, deary me/* sighed Mrs, Clegg. " Jenny's but 
a lass, and got enough load on 'er back a'ready." 

" Sure, you can't wish *er not to *ave a spoon in 
this dish though| Miss' Clegg? 'Tis a glorious thing to 
win freedom for women!*' 

" I feel kind o' dazed like/' said poor Mrs, Clegg. 
" I've no wish to stand i' Jenny's leet, if she can mak" 
a bether life than 'er pore sister's done — Gawd knows 
I'll be thankful I" She turned tearful, dim eyes on her 
daughter. *' But yo* mun mak' it reet wi* yo* fayther^ 
Jenny I *• 

" rU fix Fayther, never you fear, Mother,** Jenny 
assured her. 

But Peter shook his head doubtfully. " An' theer's 
another to reckon wi',** he remarked. ** Wotever'U 
Joe 'Opton say?" 

Jenny gave her head a little independent toss as she 
answered : 

** We're not askin' nobry's opinion about this job. 
Joe 'Opton may jest take it or leave it,^ 

" Aye, that's it, Jenny,*' laughed Mrs. Toppin. " If 
all lassies spoke to their sweethearts as straight as yo', 
we'd soon win our vote.*' 

"Ain't yo' a-keepin' comp'ny wi* Joe no longer? '• 
inquired Jenny's mother timidly, 

Jenny's answer was an expressive shrug. 

" You'd be a fool to give Joe the go-by, lass," said 
Peter. " •E*s steady, is Joe, and 'e's a mighty clever 
chap— *ear 'im talk at them meetin's they do say is 

" We don't want talkin*, we want doin'/' replied 
Jenny, in tones that boded ill for moonlight walks 
ftiid setttimeftt, 


" Joe's a mon most girls 'ud be proud to tak'/^ 
suggested, rather than affirmed, her mother. 

** Oh, Tm sayin* naught to the contrary/' said 
Jenny, ** but for me 'e can come or 'e can go, can Joe 

At that very moment two heads looked in at the 
street window. It was Joe Hopton himself and his 
pretty little half-sister, Maggie Smith. He called out 
in laughing, mocking tones: 

•• Oh, 'e can come or 'e can go, eh, Jenny? Well 
then, 'e's come— good evening, all I" 

The voice made Jenny start, and brought the quick 
colour to her cheek. Still she did not turn to the 
window, but chose rather to go round slowly to the door. 

Peter clapped his hands joyfully. " Talk o* the 
de*ill'* he cried. *' Come in, come in. Good evenin*, 
Maggie; nay, but yo're set up fine," he said to the 
laughing girl, as she bent over the sill, a large bunch 
of roses nodding jauntily in a white straw hat of latest 
Chester pool fashion. 

•• Well, Jenny," said Mrs, Toppin, " Til be goin*. 
Will you follow?" 

** Yes, Tm comin' with you — I won't be long," an- 
swered Jenny promptly, as Mrs. Toppin vanished round 
the corner into the neighbouring house. 

Jenny's mother hastened to put glasses and cups on 
the table to greet the new-comers. " 'Ave a glass of 
ale, Mr. 'Opton—and you, Maggie? ... or a coop o' 

Maggie, sitting down on the corner of Peter*s couch, 
refused any refreshment, as did also her brother, while 
his eyes sought those of Jenny, busying herself with the 
basket of mending. 

"We can't stay," said Joe Hopton; "we've only 
slipt round to see if Jenny won't come to the Circus to- 
Dig;ht— there's sfx of us, I'm $t^ndin' the party/' 


Jenny looked up and faced him, '* Tis very kind in 
you, Joe, but Tm sorry, I can't possibly come to- 

•• Not come, for why?"- 

Maggie jumped up, taking Jenny by the arm. *' Oh 
come, don't be talkin' that way, Jenny. You must 
come, or you'll spoil it all. I've got off by a stroke 
o' good luck, the missus bein' away. The old house- 
keeper she sez I shouldn't go — shan't I, sez I to 
mysel', we'll see, old lady I So I tackled the master 
'imself. I can just twist 'im reaund my little finger — 
an' 'ere I come in the hautomobile, my dear I'* She 
gave a nimble triumphant pirouette and seated her 
smart, trim little person again on Peter's sofa. 

"You did?'* Her brother took her up sharply. 
" I thought you come by train — ^w'o drove you?" 

Maggie laughed misdhievously. " Niver you mind, 
that's my bizness — ^here I am. Now come along, Jenny, 
go an' get on yer 'at." 

" Sorry, Maggie— it's very kind in you, Joe, but 
I really am busy to-night," said Jenny, 

Joe watched her as she spoke, a puzzled frown 
contracting his brow. ^* Look 'ere, Jenny, my lass. 
We're not goin' to quarrel 'bout laws o' Parliment and 
Votes for Women, or any other rot, you an' me." He 
came up and put his arm round her waist, but Jenny 
^dged away from him. " Oh, I'm not goin* to let you 
off," he laughed good-temperedly. " Once I've set 
my mind on a thing, I mostly get it, you know. Now, 
you're comin' along to-night. I've come for you, an' 
I'm not goin' without you." 

" I can't, Joe—not to-night. ... I'm goin' to the 
women's meeting— I must go," she added, in the tone 
which awaits opposition ready-armed. 

"Women's meeting I " cried Joe scornfully. "Tommy 
rot I y\l see you do^'tt" 


Mrs. Clegg looked up, the light of hope in her 
weary eyes. " Oh, I wish you*d talk to her, Mr. 
*Opton, her's goin' to London nex' week, an* I'm' 
feerin' her*ll come to harm.*' 

"Goin* to London I Wotever for?" demanded Joe. 
"Taken a situation?'^ 

" Nay, her's a-goin' to talk to the Parleymen— her's 
set on it." 

Joe laughed, but the laugh lacked heartiness. " By 
gum I sounds fine, eh? Jenny Clegg addresses the 
House — unwonted sensation I " 

"Lor', Jenny, yo're a treat I" cried Maggie, and 
her laugh was genuine enough. 

" Oh, you can laugh." Jenny's cheek flushed as 
she spoke. " It don't 'urt me and it don't change me.'* 
She took off her apron and threw her plaid shawl 
over her shoulders. Joe watched her seriously, then 
came to her side, a compelling earnestness in his voice : 

" No, I don't laugh, me lass. See here, Jenny, be 
reasonable. It's that Toppin woman been upsettin' 
you 'bout this proposed Bill, I s'pose. Now listen to 
me, Jenny— wot difference wud this Bill make to you? 
Anyway, it wouldn't come into operation for six months. 
By that time you'll be Mrs. Joseph 'Opton, an' my wife 
will never work in a mill or anywhere else, except in 
'er own home, not if I know it." 

" I know naught about Mrs. Joseph 'Opton "— 
Jenny's tone implied complete indifference to that lady 
— " but if I did," she added, " I'd feel the same way 
— ^aye, an* if I Was goin' to be Queen of England. It's 
a wicked thing to take away women's work — ^it isn't 
only of meself I'm thinkin'— it's of all us women and 
the childhern— aye, an' the men too. They'll suffer, 
though they are so struck blind wi' selfishness they 
can't see further than their own noses jest now." 

Joe waited with studied patience till she paused. 


"Now let me speak, will you?" he said. " YoVe 
got the wrong end of the stick, like you women always 
do, if you can. This Bill ain't against you, it's for yer 
good, an' I'll prove it if you'll listen." Joe spoke now 
for the public, his eye embraced them all. 

" 'E's as good as a play, is Joe," cried Maggie 
lightly, ** once 'e gets a-talkin', but lor' I w'oever cares 
for politics I" 

" I'm reet glad you doan't, Maggie," murmured 
Peter, his head in dangerous proximity to the fashion- 
able hat and the blue eyes beneath it. 

Joe continued emphatically, and ignoring the in- 
terruption, " This Bill of Blore's, which was discussed 
last night, is for the benefit of you women and your 
'omes, and of the children. The business of the man is 
to keep 'is family — ^there is not near enough work for 
men in this country, and the competition of women is a 
serious obstacle to the breadwinner. . . ."' 

" An' how when the woman's the breadwinner?" in- 
terrupted Jenny eagerly, 

" She mustn't be— she oughtn't to be "—Joe waved 
aside the objection — " let me go on — ^you shall 'ave your 
say after. That is one point — ^women as undesirable 
competitors — ^taking away the work from man— inan the 

" Sure that hain't reet," agreed Mrs. Clegg, her eyes 
fixed intently on the speaker. He turned to her with 
quick approval: 

" No, of course not; I knew as you'd agree with me, 
Mrs. Clegg— all s^ sible women do." 

" Oh, Mother I Poor Mother I " sighed Jenny to her- 

" Now I come to my second point," went on Joe, and 
his tone compelled attention even from the two on the 
sofa. " While the woman is thus takin' the work that 
legitimately belongs to the man, what becomes of the 



'ome an' the children? — ^her legitimate sphere? Why^ 
left to go to rack an* ruin, of course. An' the woman 
hersel'? Instead of remainin* in *er *ome preparin' *er 
*usband's food, washin' for 'er family an' suchlike 
dooties, trapesin' off to the mill, standin' ten an' a hawf 
hours with a baby p'raps on its way, ruinin' 'er own 
health an' the 'ealth of that child that's coming. Now, 
can't you see that to force the woman to stay at 'ome 
an' mind that sphere of life to which she is by nature 
sooted, is to be 'er true friend, which this Bill is?" 
He appealed first to Jenny, then to the rest, with a 
comprehensive gesture. 

" By gum, but Joe's a-talkin* English," Peter ob- 
served in an aside to Maggie. 

" Aye, 'e olez does when 'e gets a speautin' them 
speeches," answered Maggie confidentially. 

Jenny stood facing Joe, an unconverted expression 
on her face. " 'Ave you done?" she inquired coldly. 

" Not near.*' Joe laughed uneasily, his speeches 
were not used to miss fire in this manner, but he went 
on courageously. " Hold on a bit. Wot is it causes the 
drunkenness of nine-tenths among the men? Neglected 
'omes, nothin' else, if you come to look at the root of 
the thing. 'Usband comes 'ome tired, weary with 'is 
day's work — 'stead of a bright fire, missus clean and 
tidy to welcome 'im, a steamin' 'ot supper ready laid, 
wot's 'e find? Dirty, squalin* children all over the 
place, fire out, cold supper, wife all draggled an' wore- 
out, just come in from 'er day's work. Can you blame 
the man if he sez, ' 'Anged if I'll stay, I'm off to the 
public'? An' orf he goes. W'o wouldn't? that's what 
I arsk — ^w'o wouldn't? Woman's sphere is the 'ome, 
an* when she quits it there's the mischief all round." 
He brought his fist down on the table by way of clinch- 
ing the matter. He felt what he stated to be un- 


But Jenny was ready for him^ her answers like fox- 
hounds straining at the leash. At the first pause she 
burst out passionately: 

" And what if the woman 'as got to quit 'er 'ome 
to win bread for the starvin' children, to pay for a 
roof over their *eads? Hear you talk one*d think she 
went out on a spree. 'Ave you done?*' 

" Not near^" laughed Joe, still confident in his in- 
vincible arguments. " But you can go ahead, my lass, 
if there's any rational answer you can put up against 
my argiments, which there's none. Your mother, who 
'as bin a mother, can uphold me.'* Mrs. Clegg's head 
signified her heart was on his side, even if her head 
was unable to follow his reasoning. 

Jenny looked at her mother with profound pity and 
gave a little hopeless sigh. Then she turned to Joe: 

" Theer's no more point in your argiments, Joe, 
than there is in a roasted snowball.'^ 

•' 'Ark at 'em I Joe's got 'is match, I reckon,'* 
Maggie whispered aside to Peter. 

*• You an' yer Will Blores an* yer fool Parliment,'* 
went on Jenny, '* talks jest as if all 'omes was as like 
as a row o' pins, with an 'ard-workin' husband an' a 
wife an' two or three children fitted up in each like a 
workboz. Why, man alive, look about you I Wo's 
these women that's workin' in mills an' takin' the bread 
out o' the pore men's mouths? More'n nine-tenths is 
women who've got to keep themsels an* their f am 'lies. 
Some's widows, like Mrs. Toppin next door — some's 
like me, who have to help, even when there's a father 
eamin' too — some's got sick 'usbands who's out o' 
work, and some's got 'usbands like pore Liz, always 
drinkin' an' lookin' for a job. Who's to keep sech 
'omes together if the woman doan't?" 

Joe's answer was ready; he was not to be easily non- 
plussed, and by a girl too. 

OFTril \ 



" Sech women can go out charrin', or take in piece- 
work at 'ome. Oh, we've thought it all out/' he added 
confidently; "we're not so mudde-pated as you seem 
to think, me lass." 

"Thought it all out, have you?" Jenny could not 
keep the bitterness in her heart from ringing in her 
voice. Oh, these men, these men, with their limited 
vision and obtuse understanding of any point of view 
save their own. Jenny had felt out of patience with them 
even before she crossed life's threshold, "Then, 'ave 
you figured out the difference 'twixt twenty-five shillings 
a week at mill, an' six or seven shillings a week at 
'ome?" she demanded. " As to charrin', if you're goin' 
to leave 'ome, better leave it for good pay than bad. 
Talk about the baby comin'l — ain't it better to weave 
eleven hours a day for good brass out o' which you 
can pay some one to mind the childhem an' clean up, 
than to slave sixteen hours a day on piecework which 
can't keep body and soul together? — the childern greet- 
in' around, half fed, half clothed, no time to tend 'em; 
your 'usband, if he's sick, grumblin' an' jawring; all 
your washin' an' cookin' to do, an' can't pay nobody 
t'elp— oh, don't talk to me I Look at pore Mother, who 
sits there agreein' with you, what 'ud *er. own daughter 
Liz do if she couldn't go to mill?" 

Eagerly Joe seized his opportunity. 

" Why, doan't you see, 'ere's a case in point? If 
Liz weren't earnin', Sam couldn't be playin' the giddy 
goat— 'e'd 'ave to set to an' keep the 'ome. As it 
is '• 

" Trouble wi' you, Joe, is you think all men 'ave got 
your notions," interrupted Jenny. " Why'd Sam 'ave 
to? Who's goin' to make 'im?" 

" The law, that's wot'd mak' 'im," replied Joe. 

Jenny shook her head. " No, the law doan't make 
a man give 'is wife a brass farthing, Joe, not till she 


goes into the work 'us and the guardians sue 'im. 
You've got time to be dead and buried before they 
get the law on a man. Look at pore Miss' Smithy 
when 'er 'usband 'ooked it the night she was confined 
of 'er eighth 1 He wus in America before the work- 
house guardians could look round/' 

" Oh, the \2Bw bain't no good for women/' came the 
patient voice of the mother who knew life, 

" Mother, she'd sooner die in a ditch an' 'ave a 
pauper's fun'ral than 'ave the law on Fayther, wouldn't 
you now, Mother?" Jenny felt sure of her mother's 
support on this ground, and the resigned, bowed head 
proved her right. 

"Oh, but that's nonsense," answered Joe impatiently. 
" I don't say things are right. We Socialists 'ave a 
deal to reform; but the law is, or should be, to protect 
the weak/' 

" Like it preticks pore Liz?" inquired Jenny, with 
quiet sarcasm. " Let the law give us what'U 'elp us 
most, then, Wot's 'elped the men? Ain't you said a 
score o' times the law without the vote ain't a morsel 
o' good to nobody?" She dropped sarcasm, always an 
unwise weapon in the armoury of a woman, and took 
up the more subtle and effective pleading tone. " Oh, 
Joe, can't you see how us women need it?" 

But the sarcasm had steeled Joe's heart and irritated 
his spirit. 

" Oh, shut up, my girl. Go an' put on your Sunday 
'at an' come along," he made answer. " You'll go 
crazy, worse still, you'll lose your good looks if you 
take to politics — it ain't woman's sphere. Woman's 
sphere is the 'ome, and 'er power lies in influencin' us 
men, turnin' us round 'er little finger by gentle ways. 
A woman can get any bloomin* thing out of us men 
with 'er wiles and 'er smiles, but not with using the 
sharp end of her tongue." 


'* Wiles an* smiles I" Jenny gave a short laugh; 
" women's influence you call that?" 

"Yes,** repeated Joe obstinately, a twinkle in his 
eye. " You just try wot a wile an' a smile can do wi' 
me, my lass." He attempted to catch her around the 
waist as she passed him, putting the table between her- 
self and him. 

" Oh, men are fules, old an* young alike," laughed 
the careless voice of Maggie. " YouVe only got 
to flatter 'em a bit, Jenny. Jest you try that 
on, it's a deal quicker than all yer Votes for 

Jenny turned het large brown eyes reproachfully on 
the giddy Maggie, then appealed to Joe. 

" You think if pore mother went to see our Member 
o' Parliment with 'er Sunday 'at on, an' 'er sweetest 
smile, he'd give 'er anything she asked?" She paused, 
then added impatiently: "Oh, git along with yer 
women's influence I" 

" That's not precisely a similar case to you an' me, 
Jenny," answered Joe quietly, " but it's a regular 
woman's way of arguin', so I'll forgive you if you 
put on yer Sunday hat an' yer sweetest smile. But 
mind," he added, softening as his eye rested approv- 
ingly on the comely little figure just out of his reach^ 
"it's got to be the sweetest." 

There was no response to his mood as Jenny an- 
swered earnestly : " No you won't, Joe, for I want you 
to see things different to what you do, an' I see clear 
enough you can't. You talk of women's influence — 
wot's my influence ever done with you? Do you care 
for this Women's Cause as I've talked to you so mucli 
about, pleaded with you for, Joe? No, you laugh 
at it." 

" Best way of takin' it, I think," replied Joe scorn- 


" Yes, there you are I That's wot my influence counts 
for. Well, Tm not one of yer smilers an' wilers, Joe, 
an' I thought better an' higher of you than to think 
that's wot you wanted in your wife." 

** Jenny, be you a-coomin'? I'm off," called Mrs. 
Toppin outside in the street. 

" Yes, I'm comin', I'm ready now," Jenny called 
back, and, drawing the shawl on her shoulders over 
her neat dark head, she moved to the door. 

But with a stride Joe intercepted her. 

" I'm not laughing now, Jenny. I won't have it," 
he said sternly. " No one can say as I'm a narrer- 
minded man. I'm not against anything in reason for 
you women. I'd place some on the Municipal Council, 
and on vestries, too. I want to see you women and 
gels leadin' 'appy lives in 'appy 'omes, not grindin' 
away yer youth in mills and factries only fit for strong, 
'ard men. But this lot of Suffrigitts are law-breakers, 
that's wot they are, an' you've got to cut loose from 
them, Jenny." 

" Let me go, Joe.'* Jenny tried ta>pass him. " I 
shall never cut loose from them—I'm not that kind^ 
thank you." 

" Now look 'ere, Jenny." He tried to speak gently, 
patiently, but it was not easy in face of such deter- 
mined opposition. " I 'appen to know they're goin' to 
'ave a rough time, those women, an' none o' the 
masters about 'ere 'uU take them on in the mills when 
once they've been arrested. You'll *ave to quit them, 
my gel; I'm not goin' to run no risks of my wife 
bein' a jail-bird, I can tell you." Then he added more 
gently, and taking her hand, ** Come, Jenny, be reason- 
able, my lass." 

But Jenny wrenched away her hand. " Leave go my 
'and please Joe; nor you nor no man livin' is goin' to 
stop me doin' my dooty, even if it should mean breakin' 


a bad law— aye/' she added vehemently, " an' goin' to 
prison for't." 

Joe let go her hand and stepped aside as he folded 
his arms resolutely. 

" I reckon you'll 'ave to choose, then, 'twixt bein' my 
wife, or goin' to your own ruination with these crazy 

Jenny stood in the doorway, her eyes flashing de* 

*' The choice doan't take long, Joe 'Opton. I doan't 
want to be wife of a man who can't see straighter than 
you can. Jail-bird, indeed I Well, let me tell you this, 
I'd be proud to be sech a jail-bird as Fanny Kelly an' 
Mrs. Sinclair, Mrs. Marshall an' the rest o' them. But 
to be your wife, bidin* at 'ome, safe an' smug, while 
other women are givin' their lives and all the brass 
they can scrape together to fight for this cause, that I 
would be fair shamed on I" 

" Jenny, be you a-coomin'?" called the woman's 
voice again from the street. 

" Aye, I'm comin, right now," answered Jenny, and, 
without another look at the discomfited Joe, went out, 
closing the door decisively behind her. 



It was a cold rainy day towards the end of June. In 
the open courtyard of the London police-station a 
crowd df prisoners awaited their turn to be called 
before the magistrate* The few cells, where a bench 
was to be found, were filled to overflowing, and for 
the rest there was no option but to stand or sit on 
the damp ground* 

A few privileged persons, officials of the Women's 
Social and Political Union and the Women's Freedom 
League, here and there a lawyer, and a crowd of police- 
men mingled with the groups of standing prisoners, 
most of whom had been there already many hours. 
The frank, sturdy, independent little figures of some 
thirty women in the mill shawl and clogs of the textile 
workers, contrasted strangely with their environment. 
The sordid, degrading atmosphere of a police court 
was the last place where one would have expected to 
meet these trim, well-clad, capable-looking women. The 
pleasant North-Country speech came like a whiff of 
fresh, wholesome air. The rest of the prisoners eyed 
them curiously and with an instinctive antagonism and 
resentment at finding themselves cheek by jowl with 
those who bore no hall-mark of the true jail-bird. 
They were interlopers and intruders to these habitues, 
for the spirit of ezclusiveness is not limited to the smart 
set or the " four hundred." 



Two bedraggled, ill-clad women, each carrying in 
her arms a puny, blighted-looking infant, stood within 
earshot of Jenny and her friend, Mrs. Keziah Toppin, 
their attention riveted. Mrs. Toppin leaned wearily 
against the unresponsive wall. 

" Queer 'ow tired you do get cooped up in this 
yard," she remarked to Jenny. " We've been 'ere but 
three hours, an' I'm tireder nor I should be after ten 
in mill." 

*' Lean up against me. Miss' Toppin," said Jenny 
in her cheery tones. " I'm not tired — I reckon it's jest 
the suspense you're feeling. Your mind's not easy, fear 
we shan't get into prison after all." 

Policemen A. B. C. 93 and D. £. F. 82, the captors 
respectively of Jenny and her friend, exchanged a 
look, a fleeting shadow of a grin, without permitting 
the wooden expression of their countenances to relax. 
D. £• F. who had distinguished himself by arresting 
Mrs. Toppin and thereby earning for ever after an un- 
suspected immortality in the Toppin family, observed 
grimly from the height of his six foot two : 

" You can make yer minds easy on that score. Ill 
see as you get in right enough." 

"Not as I'm wanting mor'n a week," said Mrs. 
Toppin, so unimpressed by the majesty of the law she 
might have been confiding her wishes to a neighbour 
over a cup of tea; "I can't leave me looms no longer." 

The six foot two looked a yard above her head, 
vouchsafing no reply, but Jenny's policeman, of a more 
human and less dignified type of official, rejoined wag- 
gishly : 

" We'll 'ave to mention that to the magistrate, aye, 

Bill remaining still inaccessible to the trivial remarks 
around him, the other turned to Jenny with pleasant 
affability and added for her special information: 


" Ye see the magistrate 'e likes to give satisfaction 
to all parties, 'e does. Sure you ladies both reely want 
a week now?" 

" Well, you see it*s this way/* said Jenny, answering 
to his mood. " We'd be kind of downcast to come 
all this way and suffer naught, so to speak, for our 
glorious Cause.'* 

"Suffer naught I'* exclaimed Mrs. Toppin, drawing 
her shawl more closely round her as a nipping little 
shower struck them sharply in the face. " Call this 
'ere a bean-feast?" 

Jenny laughed and pressed closely against the wall 
for shelter. " Aye, but think of all we've seen these 
two days — could fill a book with it, we could. First 
there were the fine send-off they gave us at Chester- 
pool, not to mention the saloon train to London an' the 
great fine station of Euston. Then London, this won- 
derfu' London— Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square 
and the fountains — never'uU I forget that procession 
we made down the miles an' miles of streets, an' the 
crowd foUowin' an' cheerin' the clogs an' shawls — an' the 
welcome we got from our leaders, an' then the meetin' 
at Caxton Hall, with the sea o' faces lookin' up at you 
— hundreds an' hundreds, all smilin' an' friendly. • . ." 

Jenny paused and looked at her friend. That wel- 
come, with the sense it brought to the North-Country 
girl of being one of a great united sisterhood, an army 
of mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters, bound together 
for the noblest of all human achievements, the freeing 
of the human being from bondage, the breaking down 
of false barriers, the loosening of chains, the letting in 
of the light, for this is what the raising of woman means 
to the race, and for the first time Jenny had realised 
it in all its fullness. 

Keziah Toppin blinked her trusty brown eyes and 
gave a suspicious little sniff as she answered: 


''Aye, aye— but it makes me feel kind o' weepy 
an* soft to think of*t.*' 

" It does that/' agreed Jenny, " but it makes you 
feel ready to go threaw with jest anything— sort of 
warm an' strong an' glorious inside I Never, so long 
as I live, shall I forget that meeting an' the words 
spoke by our leaders— it made you proud to think you 
was a woman." 

" You be forgettin* the glorious time as these 'ere 
bobbies give us when we got outside that 'all," Mrs. 
Toppin replied, as her Six-foot-two, who had for the 
moment turned his attention elsewhere, now fixed it 
again on the atmosphere above her head. " Bangin' 
yer about as if you was wedded to un— I've got this 
mon's fingers writ in black an' blue on my arm this 

This last personal remark, though made with the 
utmost good humour, was too much for police-officer 
D. £. F. 82. 

" If you'd 'ad yer deserts you'd a got a deal more 
than that, you old ..." Here he uttered, in a singu- 
larly offensive manner, the name of an entirely harmless 
and useful domestic quadruped, prefixed by sundry 
strange and inappropriate adjectives. Then, turning 
his back, he took a few paces in the opposite direc- 

Mrs. Toppin's clear accents could not fail however 
to reach his somewhat protruding ears. 

" That young man needs a good lump of soap in his 
mouth to cleanse it." It was pronounced in the severe, 
judicial tones of a school-mistress dealing with the 
naughty boy of the class. 

Police-officer A. B. C, being left to uphold the fall- 
ing dignity of the force, took up the gauntlet for his 
discomfited mate. 

" We've got to do our dooty, 'owever unpleasant. 


you must remember, missus. If you don't obey orders 
you've got to suffer the consequences," 

" Oh, I'm not for complainin*," returned Mrs. Top- 
pin. ** I was only passin' the remark to my friend as 
some of you did leave your finger-marks on us, and 
it ain't esackly a Bank 'OUerday treat, this 'ere 
Suff ridge business, as some o' the papers make out." 

" Right you are. Miss' Toppin," cried a cheery voice, 
and: a icomely, grey-haired woman advanced and greeted 
her from the crowd. She too wore the shawl and 
clogs, and they began comparing notes as to recent 

Meanwhile, Jenny's policeman, after regarding her 
with an expression of mixed approval and puzzlement 
which replaced the habitual wooden reserve, remarked 
thoughtfully : 

" Beats me, what you want puttin' yer heads into 
chokey so deliberate like I " 

" We want the vote," Jenny answered promptly. 
'* Want it more than ever you men wanted it, an' 
we've got to fight for it, jest as you men had to fight 
for it." 

" Bless you, I never fought for it, and never would 
neither," said he. 

Jenny's eyes flashed indignantly. 

" But your forebears fought an' suffered to win the 
freedom you enjoy— aye, an' some of them died to win 
it for you. You'd know fast enough if you hadn't got 
it. Your wages, your hours, your pensions, every 
blessed thing in life you're glad you've got, has come to 
you because of that vote of yours." 

Every trace of the wooden expression had vanished 
from the face of A. B. C. as he listened. After a pause 
he observed cautiously: 

" Come to think of it, I s'pose there be some truth 
in what you say, miss, I don't say neither as you 


oughtn't to 'ave yer vote, you women, but what I do 
say is '* — here he felt on firm ground—*' ask for it quiet 
—don't go breakin' winders an* breakin' the law an' 
resisting the perlice. No good can come of that." 

" We've been askin' for it quiet thousands an' thou- 
sands of us in thousands of petitions to Parliment these 
sixty years an' more/' said Jenny. 

He looked at her critically, from her sturdy wooden 
clogs to the crown of her neat dark brown head. His 
eyes twinkled as he said slowly: "You don't look it, 
miss — you've wore remarkably well.*' His glance re- 
turned to the iron-bound clogs. " What d'you 'ave 
them queer shoes on for?" he inquired. 

" The clogs? Why, kicking of course." Jenny's 
tone was quite serious. " See how good and strong 
they're made." She put forward a foot for his inspec- 

" Kickin'l " He regarded her suspiciously. " W'o? 
The perlice?'* 

" Why no, bless you," Jenny reassured him with a 
pleasant smile. " We wouldn't 'urt you perlice — why 
ever should we, poor dear innercents? You can't give 
us our vote. Clogs be for those w'o's keeping from 
us our due, the vote we pay for in taxes, same as you 
men— ain't that plain jestice?" 

" Sounds pretty fair," he allowed. " But it ain't a 
bit o' good you women usin' violence," he admonished; 
"it's jest knockin' yer 'eads against a stone wall." 

" Stone walls have been known to fall when heads 
go the right way to work. The walls of Jericho fell 
down because they blew trumpets loud enough to shake 
the foundations. We women have got out the trumpets 
now, and the walls of Parliment 's goin* to fall. You'd 
better come an' blow with us, and help us win our 

" Jest 'ark at 'eri" said the pale-faced woman near 


to her neighbour. " She's one o' them Suffrigitts, that's 
wot she is.'* 

'* An' look at 'er shoes I " answered the Red-face. 
" I never see such a bold face' 'ussie — a-talkin' to the 
copper as if she was one o' them districk visitors." 

" Wotever do them Suffrigitts want I never could 
make awtl" said Pale-face, as she wearily changed her 
puny burden from one thin arm to the other. 

" They wants to deawn the men/' answered the other 
bitterly, *' and raise theirsel's, the 'ussies. I'd like to 
'ave the 'orse-whippin' of 'em, I would," she added 

A surly-looking man standing by turned a resentful 
look on Jenny and her group. 

" Ho, they'd like to deawn the men, would they I " 
he observed between his teeth. '' I'd like to learn 
'em ..." He muttered imprecations in which the 
whole female sex were included. 

The policeman whose special charge he was looked 
down upon him reprovingly. 

•* Why, they ain't 'urt you — tidy bodies they look 
to me." 

" Oh, I knows that sort," retorted the man bitterly. 
" A damn teetotal preachin' lot. . . . Ain't I got one 
at 'ome like a millstone roun' my neck I " 

" I should 'ave thought a drinkin' wife 'ud a bin 
more of a millstone than a teetotler," observed the 
policeman grimly. 

Jenny, quite oblivious of the remarks and attention 
of her neighbours, continued earnestly to discuss the 
Suffrage with her policeman. In reply to his admoni- 
tion, so often to be heard on the lips of the hard- 
pressed, that women should attend to their own busi- 
ness, Jenny answered: 

" Jest what we're doin'— -that's why we're out now— 
attendin' to our own business. Tryin' to make the 


home a better place for the childhern— 6oj^s as well 
as girls, mind you.*' 

•• VA like 'er to 'ave my 'usban' for a week — 'e'd 
learn 'er *er bizness better'n that 'ere copper's a-doin'/' 
remarked Pale-face bitterly, with a dim idea of finding 
solace for her own woes by dragging down another into 
the same mire. 

" Jail's a deal too good for 'em," her friend re- 
sponded in the same perverse spirit. 

'' We 'ad some of 'em come down our wye lars 
week, 'oldin' a meetin' on the street corner, but I paid 
no 'eed to 'em,'* continued Pale- face, with conscious 
sense of superiority in having avoided the temptation to 
associate with such questionable characters. 

*' They'll get a rotten egg in the eye when they 
comes my wye," threatened Red-face, in a voice that 

" There's some as sez they're a-tryin' to make things 
better for us women," ventured Pale-face after a 
pause; " but. Lor', I don' believe 'em," she added 

" Loikly tale," rejoined the other contemptuously. 
" It's theirsel's they're pushin', I tell you — wantin' to 
rule over the land. Why, some o' them wears trousers 
— ^shameless 'ussies, not females at all they ain't." 

" The coppers 'ave nabbed a goodish few of 'em this 
time— must be a couple o' dozen an' more in 'ere with 
them kickin' shoes on. . • ." 

" Good job too— ^" began Red-face; but at this 
point a voice called out " Smale and Borrow I" upon 
which the policeman, towering like an impending fate 
above the two women, descended promptly and inarched 
them oflF, human Bundles and adl, into the adjoining 
police court. 

Jenny threw after thentf a look of pity as her eyes 
rested on the Bundles so early making their entrance 


on this sordid stage. The voice of A. B. C. 93 recalled 
her to the unfinished argument. 

" You women are wonderful plausible, but there's 
mostly a flaw somewhere, come to look close at it.*' 

"Flaw I" cried Jenny, "'Aye, there's a flaw sure, 
but it's in the arguments of those that's against us/* 

" Look, Jenny," said Mrs. Toppin, hurrying to her 
side. She pointed to a window giving on to the court- 
3rard, where several women were passing, and as they 
did so each in turn held up her fingers to those below. 
" There goes some of our women," she cried excitedly. 
" Can you see how many fingers they hold up? It's 
to tell how many weeks they've got." 

Two women in the North-Country shawl paused at 
the window and held up both hands, with but four 
fingers down. 

" Six weeks I " cried Jenny in dismay. 

" Six weeks I " echoed her friend. " Lor', whatever 
for?" she demanded of those around her. The question 
was answered by a gentleman who hurried up to the 
group at this moment. He was a barrister, a friend 
of the SuffragetteSj and had just come out of the 

" Your turn may come next.*' He addressed Mrs. 
Toppin and Jenny. " Just a word of warning. The 
magistrate is getting nasty, I fear. He is giving six 
weeks to second offenders — we must be careful not to 
irritate him needlessly. Don't speak at all till he asks 
you if you have anything to say in your defence, and 
then merely say * No.' Do you see?'* 

" Ain't we got to say why we come to London and 
why we was took up?" inquired Mrs. Toppin, her face 

" No, no, on no account," he answered. " Believe 
me, it's better not to speak at all. I'm a lawyer, and 
am giving you sound advice, I assure you," 


'* It do seem queer kind of justice, doan*t it?" said 
Mrs. Toppin. 

" Oh, but law and justice are, I am sorry to say, two 
totally different things. This magistrate is very hard 
on all our women, and he is inclined to be irritable 
this morning. The first three got a fortnight, the 
next three weeks, and these last two, six weeks, because 
the policeman said they hit him over the head with an 
umbrella. They declared they didn't possess such an 
article— but there you are, the word of the policeman 
is always taken without question.*' 

He hurried on to another group with his urgent 
warning, while Keziah Toppin turned a dismal face 
on Jenny. 

" Here's a pretty go I I cawn*t be affordin' six 
weeks 'oUerday, nor three neither. We'll both be losin* 
our jobs if we don't look out, Jenny." 

" Don't let's meet trouble half-way," said that philo- 
sophic young person. " Whatever comes we'll get 
through with it somehow. Miss' Toppin, so hearten up. 
Why, I never I " — her whole face suddenly became illu- 
minated—'' if there isn't Miss O'Neill" 

Waving her hand and threading a difficult way 
through the closely packed crowd, came Mary O'Neil. 
"I'm dreadfully late," she cried, shaking hands warmly 
with Jenny and her friend. " I thought I'd never 
get here. What a lot of you I I feel so ashamed I'm 
not one. It's very odd " — she lowered her voice — 
" the police simply would not arrest either me or Mrs. 
Cobbe yesterday. They seemed to have some secret 
understanding between them, for twice we were actually 
in the claws of the law, when lo and behold our cajp- 
tors changed their min^s and advised us in a fatherly 
way to go home." She turned to A. B.C. 93: "I 
should like to know, officer, why none of you seemed 
IP w^nt mc or my frieij4 ov^r there^ Mrs, Cobbe, 


yesterday, never mind how much we opposed 

A*. B. C. 93 turned to another six foot of majestic 
mien standing near. 

*' Peculiar, ain*t it, Bob? The young lady says we 
didn't seem to fancy her nor 'er friend Mrs, Cobbe 
over there, yesterday— eh?" The eyes of the policeman 
appealed to took on a look of peculiar intelligence as 
he drew in the corners, and gave an almost impercep- 
tible wink as he made answer solemnly: 

" Ye see, miss, we've orders to distinguish betwixt 
the 'ardened street brawler an *the 'armless lunatic, if 
you'll excuse me bein' so plain spoken." 

The answer appeared to delight his confrire^ but Mary 
O'Neil, suppressing an inclination to smile, persisted: 

" I can hardly take that as a satisfactory explanation, 
for I'm not aware that either of these classes of per- 
son were out yesterday in Parliament Square. I saw 
none, and I see none here now, do you?" 

"I see 'em thick as bees in a hive— both lots," he 
answered promptly. 

" Then you should really consult an oculist "—Mary's 
voice assumed a tone of gentle solicitude — " your eyes 
must be in much the same serious condition as those 
of the man who mistook his wife's face for a target 
the other day, and fired a full charge into it." She 
turned to Jenny's policeman, " Do you see any clearer 
than he does?" 

" Oh, it's not for me to contradict the ladies," he 
replied gallantly. "This world 'ud be a dull place 
without 'em. An' I don't mind tellin' you, miss "—he 
spoke almost confidentially, so quickly had Jenny's 
ploughing and sowing already borne fruit—" I was 
glad as my mother couldn't see me at that job yester- 
day; but • dooty is dooty,' you know "—he stiffened up 
again—" and there it is," 


" And that's precisely why we are here/' struck in 

"Yes," said Mary, "duty I England expects it of 
every man, but dislikes finding it in the women. But 
' no surrender ' is our motto, and our highest duty 
too. Now please will you answer my question— why 
was I not arrested?" 

" Dooty again, miss, before pleasure/' replied A.B.C. 
93 with solemn deference. 

" Well, Mrs. Toppin and me are thankful you're 
not arrested/' said Jenny, " for we'll be needin' your 
help maybe outside." 

" Aye, it seems we may get more'n two weeks," said 
Mrs. Toppin; " depends on the old gentleman in there/* 
She jerked her head expressively towards the court. 
" I'm fearin' for my looms, there's a score ready to 
take them on, if the boss sacks me." 

" And mine too," added Jenny seriously. "If we 
should get more than a fortnight, will you explain to 
Mother how it is, Miss O'Neil?" 

" Of course I will, Jenny. But more than a fort- 
night, oh, he can't I Why, every one says a week is 
the ordinary sentence even for disorderly and drunken 

Jenny repeated what the lawyer friend of the 
Women's Social and Political Union had told them, and 
his warning. Mary looked grave, and promised to 
interview the manager of the mill in case of necessity. 
In reply as to whether there was anything she could 
do for Mrs. Toppin's small family in her absence, 
Mary's intention being to remain up north two or three 
weeks longer, that careful mother answered : 

" Tell them childhern, please, miss, to mind Miss' 
Grimshaw, or 1*11 smack 'em when I come 'ome. And 
yo' might, if it's not troublin'you too much," she added 
in the same voice, " snip ofiF a bit o* Johnny's 'air an' 


send it me in an enverope. I've got the other five 
'ere "—she pointed to the region of her heart—" in my 
purse, but Johnny 'e was out when I did the others, 
an* I disremembered 'im later »*' 

Mary promised faithfully to snip a lock from 
Johnny's carroty little bullet head and send it to his 
mother if the prison authorities permitted. The time 
was getting short for last words, the Shawls and Clogs 
were diminishing, though the courtyard was still 
crowded, and many were so weary with the long hours 
of waiting they had collapsed on the damp ground, 
seated back to back, where they could not get near the 
wall for support. 

A young girl hurried up to Jenny and Mrs. Toppin 
with a tray of sandwiches and cups of coffee. She 
wore a well-cut tailor dress and had a face which might 
have been the original of Carlo Dolci's " Saint Cecilia." 
She urged them to take plenty of food. " You must 
stoke up for the future," she said. 

" Why, you ladies do regular spoil us, you do," said 
Keziah Toppin, as the girl insisted on her having a 
second cup. 

" There won't be much spoiling in HoUoway, I fear, 
and you may have hours to wait in the cells up there 
before Black Maria comes for you," she answered. 

" Black Maria always sounds an ugly customer," 
observed Mrs. Toppin. 

" This Maria is a particularly ugly customer," 
said Saint Cecilia. " She dates from the Middle Ages, 
and ought to be used for firewood. You are put into 
little cupboards, so small you can't sit down and you 
can't stand up. There's no air, and she jolts you so, 
it makes most people sick before they get to the 
journey's end." She spoke as though describing the 
pleasant vicissitudes of a picnic. But Mary, noting the 
eager attention of her two friends, said: 


•• Well, I must say the prospect is not encouraging. 
We want our spirits kept up, you know, as well as our 

" Oh, but nobody minds Black Maria or anything 
else when it's for the Cause," replied the girl in her 
bracing tones. She turned to Jenny. " I'm sure 
you're neither of you to be daunted by Black Maria 
or anybody else?" 

Jenny laughed: "Nay, we're not made so soft as 
that in Lancashire. We should be poor specimens 
to come out and fight for the vote— ^, Miss' 

" That's so," agreed her friend. " I 'ope they'll 
let us two stick together?" she asked, linking her arm 
in Jenny's, 

Policeman D. E. F. turned sharply and descended 
from his Olympian heights. "Fine hideal Oh yes, 
we'll see you 'ave a private suite of happartments — 
sittin'- and bath-room with 'ot water turned on for you 
two ladies." 

His witticisms were received in silence, however, by 
his audience. None were inclined for joking just now. 
There was a tension, a feeling of uncertainty and pre- 
sentiment, which cast its shadow over even Jenny's 
sunny spirit. 

" You may possibly have adjoining cells," said Saint 
Cecilia. " You can call out sometimes to each other 
when the wardresses are at dinner. But there's no 
denying that solitude is the worst part of prison life. 
Not a soul to speak to, and no books or papers to give 
you any news from outside. But you do just catch 
sight of your friends at chapel every morning and at 
exercise when you walk round the yard, and that is a 
blessing, the thought of which keeps one going all the 
twenty-four hours." 

"But, Lor', what a dull life I" Mrs. Toppin could 


not refrain from remarking. " Well, one could get a 
word or two in at chapel or exercise, maybe?" 

" Don't you try it, missus,** said A. B. C. 93 in 
fatherly tones. 

" No/* agreed the young Suffragette, " the war- 
dresses are very stem about that: they stop you going 
out of your cell for two or three days, and you may. 
be put in a punishment cell if you are not careful. 
Don't try that, it isn't worth it." 

" Did you try it?" asked Jepny eagerly. 

" Well, yes, I did," confessed Saint Cecilia, " but in 
my case it was different. I knew I'd be punished, but 
it was worth while. I wanted to know how my father 
was; and suddenly, one day at exercise, when I had 
been in prison ten days and pining for news of him, who 
should I 6ee walking round and round the yard with the 
rest of us, in prison cap and dress, but my dear old 
nurse. She had actually gone out with the Suffragettes, 
of whom she then strongly disapproved — though she 
is with us now heart and soul — and got herself arrested 
in order to be in prison with me." 

" Well, I never, she must be a game old girl, that 
'un," observed Mrs. Toppin with hearty approval. 

" I reckon she's pretty fond of you," added Jenny, 
with her good smile. 

" 'Minds me o' my mother— kind of thing she'd be 
doin' if I got nabbed," remarked A. B. C. 93, for the 
moment clean forgetting he belonged to the police 

" Well^ you may be sure I was going to speak to 
her if they chopped off my head for it," continued 
Saint Cecilia ; " and metaphorically they did — I was 
kept in my cell three awful solitary days. But on the 
whole we manage to take life pretty cheerfully, even 
in prison. You see, we're such a big family party— all 
pulling together— most of us young and strong, and 


just full of a sort of glorious enthusiasm and 

•• That's it— we're bound to win," said Mary O'Neil. 

"Aye, that we are." Jenny turned to her police- 
man* " Now don't yoa think we will?" 

" Well, I'm comin' to think as you will and 'ope as 
you will, too— there now, missl" he answered hand- 

" Shake hands, officer," cried Saint Cecilia with 
enthusiasm. " It heartens one up to hear a man say 
that, and especially a policeman. Now you get a 
number of your mates to come over to us too— will 

" Ah, that's another matter, miss— ^and mind you, 
come what may I've got to do my dooty." She had 
recalled him to his sense of office, and the man had 
vanished into the Representative of law and order. 

" Toppin and CleggI" called the summonsing voice. 

" 'Ere you air — quick march," and Policeman D.E.F. 
tapped Mrs. Toppin unceremoniously on the shoulder. 

" Well, good-bye, good luck, we'll meet again before 
long," said Saint Cecilia, as Jenny and Mrs. Toppin 
disappeared into the court. 

She and Mary exchanged some friendly remarks, in 
which Mary learnt that Saint Cecilia was a widow with 
three little boys to bring up on two hundred a year, 
which she earned by giving singing lessons; many of 
these she had lost owing to the part she had taken in 
the Woman's Movement. 

They were joined by one of the leaders of the 
W.S.P.U., and Saint Cpcilia began at once telling her 
about Jenny. " Did you notice that girl?" she asked. 
" Do you know, she has actually converted her police- 

"Well done," said the older woman with a glad 
smile. " Yes, I did notice that girl, she was converting 


somebody yesterday, I can*t remember who. And you, 
Miss 0*NeiI, say she converted you? We shall have 
plenty of use for such a girl as that when she comes 
out— mustn't let her go back to the mill, we need that 
kind up here — they are worth their weight in gold 
to us. She shall speak at the Albert Hall meeting in 
October, and do some more converting," 

Thus did the little North-Country stream find itself 
merged in the waters of the great river and swept 
along towards the ocean. 


The police court was not crowded that morning. There 
was nothing of special interest to the public, but about a 
dozen anxious faces were to be seen at the back of the 
courty eagerly peering over the barrier, listening for the 
name of a son, husband, brother, sister, or. maybe 

The magistrate had no doubt troubles of his own, 
and was in no mood to deal sympathetically with those 
of other people. . He disposed very sununarily with 
the cases before him. Women specially met with 
little mercy at his hands, and with every hard sentence 
he uttered his irritation against the sex seemed to in- 
crease; the ceaseless stream of witnesses to the out-of- 
jointness of this world must be depressing to any man 
whose conscience does not wholly exonerate him from 
being his brother's, and also his sister's, keeper. 

Day after day they passed before him, these inarticu- 
late women. The girls in their teens, driven by dire 
distress and hunger on to the streets, their accuser the 
policeman who let the really guilty one of his own 
sex go scot-free; injured wives whose faces, bruised 
and discoloured, often bore gruesome testimony to their 
grievances; tired mothers, their crime — ^keeping back 
a girl-child from school to help with the washing and 
cleaning of the congested home; old women, degraded 
and battered by life's hard school out of all semblance 



of womanhood, arrested for a vain attempt either to 
drown remembrance in drink, or end it all in the dark 
waters of the river. 

Yet what could he do, the unfortunate magistrate I 
How cope with these cases, each one involving a 
problem for which he had neither time nor under- 
standing, a problem requiring for its true solution the 
readjustment of the very foundations of social life, the 
readjustment of the relation of the two halves of the 
human family. 

Impatiently he turned over the papers before him 
that morning, then called: 

" Next case — Borrow and Smale." 

The two women whose antagonism had been so 
excited by the clogs and demeanour of Jenny Clegg, 
were therupon conducted into the dock. Side by side 
they stood up before the magistrate, their human 
Bundles on their weary arms, for even a puny baby 
is a severe strain upon the arm when borne for the 
best part of twelve hours. 

Mrs. Borrow, the robuster and ruddier of the two 
women, shifted her Bundle jerkily from one arm to the 
other, whereupon the Bundle, roused from a lethargic, 
half-conscious gnawing of an ancient crust, broke out 
into a feeble wail, which was precisely what the Author 
of its being had foreseen it would do. Patting it on the 
back, she addressed it, a defiant eye on the magistrate : 

" 'Ush, my duckey— 'e won't 'urt cher. Muver won 
let 'im— "'ush, then." 

" Silence there,*' ordered the magistrate. 

" Silence," repeated the policeman standing near 
the dock. Meanwhile, another policeman had entered 
the witness-box, taken up the Bible lying ready there 
and kissed it, muttering the formula in which all wit- 
nesses bind themselves to the superhuman task of utter- 
ing nothing save the undiluted truth. 


'* Borrow and Smale/' pronounced the magistrate 
sternly, '* you were both arrested yesterday for impor- 
tunate begging in the Albert Bridge Road. • • •** 

" Naw, yer Worship, that 1*11 take me oath/* burst 
in the red-faced Mrs. Borrow indignantly. 

"Silence I" thundered the magistrate, and 

"Silence I" echoed the policeman near her. 

The magistrate turned to the witness in the box. 

" What were these women doing when you arrested 

In a perfunctory voice, the same he had used when 
taking the oath, the policeman replied: 

" Yesterday afternoon, 'tween five and six o'clock, 
I see them two standin* at the corner of Albert Bridge 
Road, where the trams stop— the pair of 'em with the 
babies on their arms, beggin' for coppers an' foUerin' 
the pawsers-by. . . •" 

" Don't you believe 'im, yer Worship," burst in Mrs. 
Borrow volcanically; ^' that 'ere copper-8 tellin' a • • •" 

But an explosion of " Silences " from all the Powers- 
that-be, cut her short, together with a nervous clutch 
on the amt from her fellow-victim, and a piteous, 
" Oh Lizer, for Gawd's sake 'ush." 

" The dirty liar," smouldered the volcano. 

" If you interrupt again it will be the worse for 
you," the magistrate warned in menacing tones, then 
turned again to the witness: 

" Come, go on— we can't be all day about this case." 

Drawing himself up to his full height, the policeman 
continued in pompous tones: 

"I'd 'ad me eye on that pair for a day or ,two 
parst. • • ." 

" Ho you . • ." muttered Mrs. Borrow between her 
clenched teeth, but prudence arrested her. 

" It were not the first time as the public 'ad been 
annoyed by their pesterin' noosance. I arrested 'em 


both in the very act of beggin' from an old lady gettin' 
into a cab. . . ." 

" That'll do/* the magistrate waved aside further 
dbcourse. " Now, Borrow and Smale, what have you 
to say? One at a time, please. You "—he pointed to 
the pale-faced Mrs, Smale — " as you've not spoken 
yet you can begin." 

By way of reply poor Mrs. Smale lifted a very 
grimy apron to her eyes and sniffed audibly. 

" I repeat, what have you to say in your defence?" 
said the magistrate in no mood for dallying. 

Mrs. Borrow nudged her friend's arm, whispering, 
" Sy as we wasn't begging Silly." 

The policeman near caught the sound. " Silence 
you — it's Smale 'as got to speak, not you." 

Thereupon, Mrs. Smale, with another sniff, was 
heard in a nervous, high-pitched voice: 

" Please, yer Worship, we was on'y sellin' lavender, 
it's Gawd's truth arm tellin' yer. My 'usband's been 
awt o' work these five mons, an' six childern to keep 
on my odd jobs washin' an' charin', an* I thought as 
I'd sell a bit o* lavender evenin's, t'eami a few coppers. '* 

" Dare you deny you was beggin'?" cried the chal- 
lenging voice of the witness. " Why, I heerd you 
say to that lady, ' Give us a copper.' " 

" Naw, that we wasn't beggin', yer Worship," pro- 
tested Mrs. Borrow. " We was honest, sellin' lavender, 
jest as you might yerself any day, yer Worship, if you 
come down in the world." No suspicion of a jest and 
no impertinence was intended, but it was not without 
a certain sense of satisfied justice that Mrs. Borrow con- 
templated a turn in the wheel, always within the bounds 
of possibility in this strange world of vicissitudes. 
Did she not herself know a real gentleman who once 
kept his own private dog-cart, now reduced to walking 
the streets as a sandwich-man I 


** If you speak again, till I give you permission/* 
said the Man on the throne, " youll get an extra term 
for contempt of court. Now, Smale, can you deny 
what the police-officer states, on oath mind, that you 
begged a copper from a lady?" 

"No, sir; I'll swear I on'y begged *er to buy some 
o' my lavender. I tawld 'er Gawd's truth, I 'adn't 'ad 
a bite all day, nor this biby neither." 

"And you don't call that begging I" The magis- 
trate gave a contemptuous smile expressive of the 
utter hopelessness of getting a glimmer of reason or 
logic into the female brain. Had he realised the 
terrific problem with which that poor oft-battered brain 
had daily to cope, in feeding six children without money 
to buy bread, he might have paused in wondering 
admiration at the ingenuity and endless resource of the 
mother-mind, in face of such appalling difficulties. 
For at least the six children were alive and Mr. Smale 
in good condition— his wife could sometimes have 
wished his muscles less powerful. 

" Now, Borrow, you can speak," said the Dispenser 
of Justice, " but mind you keep to the point. Did you, 
or did you not, beg from the public?" 

Mrs. Borrow rocked her infant vigorously in her 
arms. " 'Ush, then, ducky — 'e shawn't 'urt cher," she 
assured the wailing Bundle. " Naw, yer worship, I'll 
take me oath I did not— an' that 'ere copper " — ^she 
glared savagely at the witness — " knaws as 'e's a-tellin' 
a foul lie " 

" Silence— not another word." The magistrate held 
up a warning hand. Then turning over the papers 
before him he said rapidly: " Borrow and Smale, you 
are each sentenced to one month with hard labour in 
the second division. We'll see if that will teach you 
not to break the law in future. Next easel" 

Tbe 4ock was opened, and the condemned women 


were hurried out of court by two policemen standing 

" Whatever II my pore childern do. A month I Oh, 
it's crool *ard/' wept the pale mother. 

But the robuster Red-face gave a short laugh as she 
left the court: 

" I don* care— it 'uU be a rest for me. 'E'll 'ave to turn 
to an* keep 'is eyght brats from starvin' — do 'im good." 

Again the dock opened, this time to receive a big, 
burly middle-aged man of surly countenance, but well- 
clothed, well-shod, and of self-respecting appearance. 
From the opposite side the plaintiff appeared, a small 
spare woman with contracted chest and dark shadows 
under her large melancholy eyes. Her face wore a 
watchful, anxious look, as if both sleep and smiles were 
unknown to its owner. 

•• Worrell versus Worrell," read out the magistrate. 
Then turned to the man in the dock: 

'* You are summoned by your wife for having given 
nothing for more than a year towards the support of 
your three children and the home— is this the case?" 

" Not now, I don't. I can't afford it. I've got to 
be near my work and pay for lodgings near and keep 
myself," answered the man surlily. 

" Oh, I isee, your home is not near your work? You 
have to take lodgings, is that it?" 

" Yes, sir, that's just it. You can see for yourself a 
man can't pay two rents— anyone but a woman can see 
the jestice of it." He looked angrily towards the 
woman whose eyes were fixed anxiously on him. 

" Stop a tninute, my man. Are you in steady Work?'* 
asked the magistrate. 

" Yes, sir, I am, and I intend to keep so." He 
looked again at the woman. " She'd 'ave me chuck it 
up an' find a job nearer 'ome, an' I won't, so there I" 
l^e concli|4e4 defiantly* 


"Well, but now what wages are you getting?" in- 
quired the magistrate. 

" No more *an I work hard for, an' no more *an I 
need for myself." 

" No doubt, no doubt," allowed the magistrate with 
unwonted patience, *' but my question was, how much are 
you earning a week? Please answer that. I can verify 
these facts remember, so I trust to your stating cor- 
rectly. Your wife says you are earning thirty-seven 
shillings a week, is this so?'^ 

"I'm earning thirty-seven bob now,^* allowed the 
man. " I've 'ad a rise this last six months — but that 
don't make no difference as I've 'ad an 'eavy debt to 
pay off." 

" That's enough for the present. Now call the 

Mrs. Worrell stood forward, her eyes still fixed on 
her husband. 

" How many children have you?" inquired the magis- 
trate, his voice insensibly taking on a more curt tone 
than when addressing the man. 

'• Three livin', yer worship. I've buried four.** 

" How long have you been married?" 

" Six years come lars' Michelmas, yer Worship." 

"Seven children in six years?'* His tone was 
slightly incredulous. 

" I've 'ad two sets of twins, sir. I cotddn't raise 
'em, only one out o' the twins, pore lambs. I was at 
death's door myself, as my neighbour. Miss* Smith, 'uU 
tell you, w'o cum in to do for me| tho' *avin nine of 
'^r own. . . ." 

" That's enough." Mrs. Worrell clearly possessed 
a terribly fluent tongue, when once she got started. 
The magistrate's sympathies were all with the husband 
from this moment. 

" What are you earning yourself?" he demanded.. 


" Good weeks I earn as much as ten shillings a 
week— bad weeks I don' get mor*n six— sometimes not 
that/' said the woman. " It's charrin', you see, sir, and 
that's not regular, as you may say— though Gawd knows 
it's 'ard enough gettin' up at five to do them offices and 
all yer washing and mendin*. Gawd knows, I never 
sit down the livelong day." She turned suddenly and 
fixed her husband with' a reproachful look. " '£ knows 
it, yer Worship, 'e knows as a woman can't keep 'erself 
and three 'earty childern, and pay the rent on ten 
shillings a week, let alone six. • , •" 

"Answer my questions, please, and say nothing more. 
Does your husband give nothing whatever to the sup- 
port of his family?" 

" '£ don' give a blessed farthin', sir — that's Gawd's 
truth, mor' 'e 'aven't — not this twelve months parst — 
an' — 'e knows why. It's ever since he took up with 
that 'ussie. • . ." 

" Keep to my questions, please. I want nothing 
more. It is twelve months since your husband gave 
you anything for the children and the home — is that 

" Yes, it is, yer Worship, an' I defy 'im " Mrs. 

Worrell's dark eyes flashed indignantly. 

" That's enough — you can sit down." The magis- 
trate turns to the defendant. " Now, my man," he 
asked, as one who appeals to a reasonable being, " are 
you the father of these three children?'* 

" Certainly I am,*' answered the man, with an air 
of " Let anyone dispute that, and I'll know the reason 

" Then can't you see it is not fair that the support 
of them should be left entirely to your wife? Her claim 
for some support from you is, I consider, only a fair 
one." He was a just man, and not going to be biassed 
by his personal sympathies. 



** Ho, it ain't, sir, I've got no more 'an I can do to 
keep myself, I say, what with lodgings and food an' 
does an' my club and burial too. She'll benefit by that, 
if I'm tuk, the club'uU put me away. Slave like a 
dog," he burst out savagely, " an' 'and yer wages to a 
woman I — 'tain't good enough I" 

" But, my man, that's hardly reasonable. No one 
wants you to hand your wages to your wife — ^but some- 
thing you should give for the children, who are yours, 
remember, as well as hers. Now let's see if we can't 
arrange this matter in a fair and sensible way. ' Suppose 
you give seven shillings and sixpence a week out of 
your thirty-seven? That's half a crown for each child." 

"Seven shillin's and sixpence a week I" cried the 
man. " I can't do it, sir, it's too much to expect of 
any man. I can't do it, and that's fiat," he reiterated. 
" Why, there's my mate, as is gettin* the same as me, 
not givin' more'n five " 

" Misses MuUins 'as got but two childern under 
four year. I've got three, big an* 'eartyl" came the 
voice of the mother. 

" Silence over there," said the magistrate sternly. 
And " Silence," said the voice of a policeman at her 

" Well, in consideration of the fact that you are 
obliged to live away from home, I will make it six 
shillings a week. Now, not a word more." He 
silenced the protests of the indignant husband, and 
turned to the woman: " I will give you an order for. 
six shillings a week from your husband, to be paid 
regularly, so long as he is in receipt of thirty-seven 
shillings a week. Are you satisfied?" 

" Oh yes, sir, thank you." She looked anxiously at 
her husband. 

" Next case," said the magistrate to a policeman. 
" I'll have the rest pf those Suffragettes now." He 


looked over his papers, " Here, Toppin and 
Clegg. . . /• 

" Six shillings a week I Satisfied I" said Mrs. Wor- 
rell to herself, as she went out. " I should just think' 
I was, if only the law *ull see *e pays it t " 

•• To 'ell with the b d lot of 'em/' muttered 

Mr. Worrell. ** V\\ mak* 'er remember this dye— be 
damned if I don't." 

*' Toppin and Clegg— Police-oifficers A. B. C. 93 and 
D.E.F. 82." 

Mrs. Toppin and Jenny entered the dock and stood 
side by side, inwardly not without secret quakings, 
but outwardly serene and fearless. 

"Toppin, arrested on June 21st, for disorderly con- 
duct in Parliament Square — resisting and attacking the 
police in the execution of their duty," read out the 

" Hear that?" whispered Mrs. Toppin to Jenny. 

" Doan*t speak, for Lord's sake," whispered Jenny. 

Police-officer D. £. F. 82, who had entered the wit- 
ness-box and kissed the Bible, then proceeded to give 
his version of the affair. 

" The woman Toppin was in the crowd, pushin' an' 
fightin' 'er way, tryin' to get past the perlice. I told 
'er to go back, but she struck out at me wors' 'an ever, 
and told me flat to me face she was goin' on, and with 
that she giv' me a blow on the chest and would 'a 
slipt under me arm if I 'adn't 'a bin quick and nipped 
'old of 'er. She tried to bite my hand, and 'er lan- 
guage was hawful." 

" 'Ear that?" Mrs. Toppin nudged Jenny. 

" Sure, I'm listening," replied Jenny, under her 

" There was 'undreds 'ootin' them as we led 'em off, 
them two— a regular riot they set up," concluded the 


"Oh| *owever can 'el'* cried Mrs. Topping in spite 
of all efforts to be silent. 

•• That will do. Now, Police-officer A. B. C. 93, you 
arrested the girl Clegg on this same occasion, did you 
not?" demanded the magistrate, as Jenny's policeman 
took his stand in the witness-box. 

** Yes, your Worship, I did," he answered. 

" Relate what occurred." 

" The prisoner was attempting to force her way 
into the *Ouse o* Commons. She slipt past the cor- 
den of police and was goin* by a private door when I 
caught *old of *er to go back. She was violent, so I 
*ad to arrest *er." He spoke in a perfunctory tone, as 
if repeating a lesson. 

" Aye, but for why was she goin* inter th^ Parly- 
men?" asked Mrs. Toppin, as though encouraging a 
friend to be a little more explicit. 

" Silence I" ordered the magistrate. 

" Silence! " echoed the policeman near the dock. 

" Doan*t speak, for God's sake, Mrs. Toppin, dear," 
implored Jenny. 

" They shall 'ear it," muttered Keziah, between 
clenched teeth. 

The magistrate continued: 

" So both these women refused to obey orders, and 
were arrested for disorderly conduct and endeavouring 
to resist the police in the fulfilment of their duties? Is 
that what you state on oath?" 

'• Yes, your Worship," replied the witness. " They 
refused to go back and resisted the perlice with violence." 

" Toppin, have you anything to say?" 

Jenny pulled her friend's sleeve. " Say no." 

Mrs. Toppin remained ominously silent. 

" Come, speak up — you, you seemed anxious enough 
to talk when you were told to be silent," said the 
magistrate. "What have you to say?" 


"Naught/' replied Mrs. Toppin shortly. 

" What does she say?" the magistrate inquired. 

•• Nothing, your worship," answered the dock police- 
man. *^« 

" And the other one? Clegg, have you anything to 
add to this eloquent defence?" inquired the magistrate. 

" Nothing/' replied Jenny, mindful of the lawyer's 

" Well, since I understand you are first offenders, 
ydu will each get one fortnight in the second division^ 
but take care, for you'll get double next time. Next 

The threat in the magisterial voice was more than 
Mrs. Toppin could bear. As she passed out she took 
off her badge, and, pausing a moment, held it high in 
the face of the magistrate. 

" Come, move on, will yer?" said the policeman 

"No, stop a moment," said the magistrate; "what 
is that the prisoner is holding up?" 

The policeman instantly seized the badge from Mrs. 
Toppin, and read in a loud voice: " ' Votes for Women,' 
yer Worship.'^ 

" Oh, indeed," replied the latter. " Well, I've much 
pleasure in giving you an extra week for contempt of 
court. This kind of thing must be stopped." He 
turned over his papers again rapidly. 

Jenny, following close on her friend, thereupon took 
off her badge, crying: 

" And here's mine, too." 

" Very well, and here's your extra week," came the 
prompt rejoinder. " See how you like that. Now, 
clear them off— can't be all day over this business. 
Next case, I say.'* 

" Wotever you do that for, Jenny?" remonstrated 
Mrs. Toppin. " Might 'a tuk warnin' by me." 


" Why, they'd never a-known who I was if I hadn't/* 
answered Jenny. She turned reproachfully to police- 
man A. B. C. 93* " But why ever didn't you say we 
pushed past for to go an' give resolution of * Votes 
for Women ' to the Prime Minister?" 

" 'Cause, if I'd said such a thing I'd 'ave lost my 
job, miss," he said promptly. " We've got to make out 
you was disorderly, see." 

" But I thought you was a friend?" said Jenny. 

" An' I don't say as I'm not, miss. But I've got to 
do my dooty, and them's our orders," he explained, 
somewhat shamefacedly. 

As Mrs. Toppin and Jenny passed through the 
passage overlooking the yard, they held up three fingers 
to those below. Mary O'Neil waved to them and 
cheered. Then a chorus of voices broke into the 
Women's Marseillaise: 

*' To Freedom's cause till death 
We swear onr fealty. 
March on, narch on, 
Face to the dawn— 
The dawn of Liberty.' 



In a small bare cell about eight feet by six, the 
furniture of which consisted of one wooden stool, five 
women were crowded together. Five women of widely, 
different type, age, class, and education, united by only 
one bond, but that sufficiently strong to break down all 
the ordinary barriers created by such differences, and 
place them at once on the footing of comrades and 
sisters. It was such a bond as united the early Chris- 
tians crowded together behind the bars of the Coliseum 
cells awaiting their turn to fight and to die for the 
faith that was in them. 

The interminable jolting drive in Black Maria, under 
such airless, crowded conditions as had caused two 
women to faint, had landed them at last at the grim 
gates of the old prison, where one by one they had 
been unpacked and passed in. After going through 
the preliminary ceremonies of inscribing their names 
and ages, and aiding in recording a prosaic description 
of eyes, hair, height, and other personal details, they 
had then been driven, cattle-wise, into these narrow 
pens, there to a wait for many a weary hour the doctor's 
summons. After this would come the bath and the 
donning of the prison garments, and finally, at some 
hour far into the night—for there had been many 
convictions on this occasion— rest on the hard prison 
bed. Not one but felt how grateful rest would be on 



any bed, however hard, after such a day. But though 
aching with bodily weariness, the five women were as 
cheerful in spirit as though they had met in a cosy 
parlour for a tea-party. The two girls, of whom 
Jenny was one, and Tilly Baxter, a tailoress, aged 
nineteen, the other, sat badk to back on the floor, their 
knees drawn up to their chins and clasped round by 
their arms. The veteran of the party, Mrs. Wilmot, a 
fragile, well-bred, elderly lady, with a face at once of 
dignity and energy, a face which bore the trace of the 
storm and stress of youthful days, was seated on the 
solitary stool, while Mrs. Keziah Toppin, stout and 
cheery, and Miss Chadwick, a lively, capable-looking 
woman of the New England type, stood side by side, 
getting what support they could out of the irresponsive 

Each of the five in turn had given a full and detailed 
account of her own experiences on the memorable 
day of the deputation and consequent arrests. Some 
had found the London police friendly and considerate, 
others had been less fortunate and seeh the ugly side 
which lies dormant in so many men and women, and 
wakes into hateful tyranny when invested with power 
to use at their own discretion over their fellow-crea- 
tures. Mrs. Wilmot, Mrs. Toppin, and Tilly Baxter 
all bore on their arms and shoulders marks of rough 
handling, which testified to this fact. But they made 
light of their bruises and found excuses innumerable for 
the rough brutality of the men who inflicted them. 
After all, they had been in the main only instigated 
by an idea of suppressing by force, rebellion against 
law and order, an excellent ideal for the police if car- 
ried out with due humanity and self-control. 

" Now," said Mrs. Wilmot, in her gentle, firm tones, 
" I am not going to enjoy this luxurious seat another 
minute. It is someone else's turn.'* 


She rose as she spoke, in spite of a protesting chorus 
which declared that she had not been there ten 

Mrs. ToppiUy appealed to as the successor to the 
seat of honour, made answer sturdily: 

" No, mam, not for me, thank you. Standin' is my 
natural bom habit, as you may say, havin' done it for 
thirty years an* more, day in an* day out, Sundays only 
excepted — eleven hours a day in full time^ which I was 
thankful for— short time spellin' short brass, ye 

" Aye, but Miss* Toppin," said Jenny, " just you 
try a spell sitting this way. It's wonderful how it rests 
yer back." 

" Lor*, my dear,*' laughed Mrs. Toppin. " I 
couldn*t do it— my figure doan*t allow of it. All very 
well for you two slips of lassies, thin as rails— but look 
at me I*' She turned to her neighbour: "You go on. 
Miss Chadwick.*' 

*' I am far too interested to feel tired," protested that 
lady, " but I will sit down for a bit not to waste our, 
valuable time in argument. I will say this is one of 
the most interesting experiences I have ever known in 
tny life. I wouldn't have missed it for a hundred 
dollars. Well, now, there are such a heap of interest- 
ing things we five women met here so strangely have 
got to talk about, let*s go straight along, for who 
knows when we*ll meet again. It*s like your old 
poet Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. See here, now, 
we've told how we each got arrested, let us each tell 
our tale of ' What made me a Suffragette.' '* 

This being agreed on as an excellent idea. Miss 
Chadwick was told she must lead off. " Being an 
American makes your story doubly interesting to all 
of us," Mrs. Wilmot assured her. 

Miss Chadwick, after protesting that she never 


thought they would all turn on her like that, and that 
it was real mean to make a shy little thing like her 
begin, started her Canterbury tale: 

" Well, it was the young ones made me a Su£fra- 
gette— having none of my own, of course I was bound 
to love everybody else's. Their education and raising 
and all that sort of thing interested me ever since I was 
a young one myself. In the State of Colorado, where 
I live, we women have had the vote now for sixteen 
years and more. We had a pretty tough fight for it, 
at least so we thought at the time. I can see now, 
compared with your fight over here, it was just a 
summer pastime. Anyway, once we*d gotten it, we 
began right away to make use of it, and mostly by 
fixing up good laws for the young ones." 

She paused, and Mrs. Toppin, who had followed 
with absorbed attention, observed thoughtfully : 

" To think of their 'avin' the vote in them outlandish 
parts I An' 'ere in free England we can't get 'em to 
give it us without all this bobbery." 

" We don't call you * free England,' my dear," 
laughed the American lady, " we call you ' poor be- 
nighted old England.' We're very fond of you and 
very sentimental about you in some ways, but the last 
thing we should call you is * Free England '—no sir, 
not much I A land where your women have got no 
right to their own children — where your divorce laws 
are one thing for the man and quite another pair of 
shoes for the woman — where a man can bring a tribe 
of kids into the world and yet is not bound to give, 
his wife a penny of his wages to provide for them— a 
land where a pretty old law still exists empowering a 
man to beat his wife provided the stick isn't thicker 
than his thumb I** 

" My pore 'usban' used to take the poker or any- 
thing as come handy; he neer heard tell o' that law," 


said Keziah in surprise, not at the existence of the 
law, but at its limitations, 

••Nor didn't my father," remarked TUly. ''He 
wudn't *a minded if 'e had, I don't believe— but 'e never 
beat mother, 'cept when 'e was drunk, an' then 'e 
couldn't have told 'is thumb from the lamp-post." 

Miss Chadwick looked from one to the other of the 
last speakers in quiet amazement. They were clearly 
guiltless either of intended humour or satire— both had 
spoken in all simplicity » 

•• It is a quaint old law," remarked Mrs. Wilmot, 
in the same matter-of-fact tone. " Fortunately for 
all of us, most men are much better than their 

••That's so," agreed Miss Chadwick, with a mental 
note as to the English point of view, " but it's the 
bad men the laws are made for, and it's the bad men 
who shelter behind bad laws. We've got to pull down 
their shelter and drive them out into the open. Well, 
I won't rub it in any more how little fre^om you've 
gotten, you Englishwomen. Being a free woman my- 
self, I've come over to break a lance for you, and I'll 
just tell you right now some of the laws we women of 
Colorado have gotten passed for the young ones since 
we had the vote. I give them to you in chronological 
order. First, a law forbidding the insurance of children 
under ten years." 

•• Aye, that's needed over here, Lord knows I" ejacu- 
lated Mrs. Toppin. 

•• Secon<^ a State Home for pauper children, a real 
happy home, mind you, not a workhouse, where they're 
brought up with the feeble-minded and sin-stained. 
Third, making mothers joint guardians of their own 
young ones with the fathers. He can't take the babe 
away from its mother and have it vaccinated and its 
tonsils cut out, and bring it up as a Papist or a 


Mahometan without the momma having a say— not in 

"Not like my sister/' put in Jenny, " whose hus- 
band shippt 'er two childern off to Australia and never 
a • with your leave, or by your leave.* " 

"How abominable r* cried Miss Chadwick sympa- 
thetically. '* Poor dear I Well, we'll get those children 
back before long, I hope. Fourth,'* she enumerated on 
her fingers, " raising the age of protection for girls to 

" That*s one of the first things we've got to do over 
here,*' observed Mrs. Wilmot, who had given many 
voteless years to vain effort in that direction. 

"Let me see." Miss Chadwick pondered a moment. 
" There's lots more, but I only want to tell you about 
the children's laws, you see. Oh, fifth, a State Indus- 
trial School for girls — this has been the most splendid 
success. Sixth— and now I come to my own special 
hobby, I may tell you — establishing Juvenile Courts. 
What we owe to this 'ud take me a week to go into, 
and I'm making my Canterbury tale too long as it 

is •• 

19. ... 

"No, no; we just love it," said both girls on the 
floor and Jenny added: " It shows us so plain what 
we've got to do with our vote when we get it." 

" Don't you miss a word, miss," urged Mrs. Toppin. 
" It's wonderful to 'ear yer. It heartens one up to 
know what other women *ave done." 

" There, you see what we feel. Miss Chadwick," said 
Mrs. Wilmot. " And it's your example in Colorado 
has done a good deal in helping us recently to start 
those same Juvenile Courts over here — that, and the 
pressure we Suffragists have ptit on them." 

Thus encouraged Miss Chadwick went on: "Well, 
here are spme more of our women's laws for you. 
Compulsory education for all children between eight 


and sixteen years, except in cases of illness or those 
who at fourteen have passed the 8th grade, and, friends, 
note this one if you please, punishment by imprison'- 
ment as well as fine, of any person employing a child 
under fourteen in factories, mines, mills, or under- 
ground works.*' 

" What a pity your other States don't follow suit and 
give women the vote," said Mrs. Wilmot. " Think of 
the children of Chicago as revealed in that tragic book. 
The Jungle! '* 

" That's so. It was all true enough, and plenty of 
fine women have been working in Chicago and else- 
where to get things straightened out, but the vote is 
the lever the women need, whatever the job before 
them. I'll tell you this right now, friends, there's not 
a comer of God's earth where we don't need the 
Woman's voice to be heard and heeded, and it's only 
the vote can make it heeded by those in power. 
Well, to conclude my tale— when I read in the papers 
of the wonderful awakening of you women over here, 
and your grand, dauntless leaders, and the way you 
were all being treated by your Government, refusing 
even to receive your deputations, imprisoning you for 
trying to present a petition, and Cabinet Ministers 
ordering you to be ' ruthlessly ' thrown out of their 
public meetings— well, when I read this I said to my- 
self, ' Euphrasia Chadwick, you get right up and go 
over and help those women. They're in a worse strait 
than any over here, and when they've gotten it, the 
states who are still sitting on the fence will be ashamed 
to hang back. Euphrasia,' I said, ' you've gotten your 
freedom and good laws for the young ones, you've no 
right to sleep easy in your bed till every other woman 
and child has won those same rights.' You see, our 
laws in the States are much more favourable to women 
than yourS| and that's one of the excuses they make for 


not giving the American women what they said they 
couldn't insult the freed nigger by withholding. Queer 
reasoning men have in all countries, poor dears I Well, 
now, IVe occupied this chair of state quite long enough, 
friends, and I will rise and call upon the next speaker." 

So saying, mid the hearty applause of her audience, 
Euphrasia Chadwick rose. 

" Is there many more like you where you come from? 
They must be grand women over there I*' observed 
Keziah Toppin, in her hearty North-Country tones. 

" Aye, that they must," agreed Jenny Clegg. 

" Wish I lived in Colorado," sighed Tilly, from the 
floor. " Gives you a chance from the start." 

Mrs. Wilmot smiled down upon the girl reassuringly. 
" Wait a bit, Tilly— your chance will come. We all 
declare a vote of thaiiks to our American cousin " — she 
turned to Miss Chadwick — " and now call upon Mrs. 
Toppin for her tale." 

" Oh, Lor*, I never was a great one for talkin' — 
deeds is more my line — please leave me out," begged 
Mrs. Toppin, flattening her person against the wall. 

** No, no— certainly not — go on, please Mrs. Toppin, 
you must take your turn," urged the other four. 

" Just give us a sample of deeds — ^and why you be- 
came a 'Suffragette, which just means a doer as well as 
a talker," said Miss Chadwick. And Keziah Toppin 
had perforce to yield to numbers. 

" Well, I don't mind telling you, then. It was Fanny 
Kelly, she who was once a mill-hand herself, made me 
a Suffragette," began Keziah shyly. "I'd never 
thought much about it before, but everything that girl 
said was just as true as true — couldn't get away from 
it, try as you might. She told us what the vote had 
done for the men, and showed what it could do for 
the women." Mrs. Toppin warmed to her subject as 
she found her voice. " Made yer think— made yer see 


clear. For three years I'd worked under a man who 
got sixty $hillin*s a week at a knittin*-machine. I 'ad 
to 'elp him, an' my job was more tricksy than 'is, but 
I got twelve shillin's a week to his sixty, an' glad to 
get it too. When he left they give 'is job to another 
man, who didn't know it 'alf as well as I did, but they, 
wouldn't let me 'ave it at half the money, though I was 
a wider with six children to keep, an' 'e was single." 

"Why not?" asked Miss Chadwick, with eager in- 
terest. She was getting just the facts she wanted 
first-hand at last. 

" 'Cause of the men's Trade Union," replied Mrs. 
Toppin. " They keep the women out of all the good 
jobs. Not a man in that mill as wouldn't 'ave chucked 
it if the boss 'ad dared put a woman to that knittin'-* 
machine. Then came the talk of turnin' us out of the 
mills, and the public-'ouse bars, an' the school teachin', 
an' I don't know what besides, where we get good 
brass. You'll notice it's never the badly paid jobs 
they want you to quit, not them I 'Well,' I sez to 
myself, ' this world's a 'ard place, anyways, for wim- 
mun; blest if we'll let 'em m^e it 'arder by lettin' the 
men an' their darned Government say what work they'll 
'low us ter do, an' what they won't.' They regulate the 
wages, an' that we've got to put up wi', but our own 
work we must stick to, or the childhern'U starve. That's 
why I became a Suffragette— an' I 'spect that's why 
most of us North-Country wimmun come in. . . •'* 

" Very good reason too," said Mrs. Wilmot and Miss 
Chadwick together. " I only wish all the textile work- 
ers would wake up," added Mrs. Wilmot. " We should 
soon get the vote if an army of a hundred thousand of 
you Lancashire and Yorkshire women marched up to 
Westminster I " 

" Never fear, they're comin' fast," laughed Keziah 
Toppin. " NoW|^ somebody else." She rose. 


'* Three cheers for Mrs. Toppin and the North- 
Country/' cried Miss Chadwick. 

Jenny was the next to take the seat of honour, and 
began simply: " It was my father made me a Suffra- 
gette — not as he meant to — but first he turned me a 
Socialist, hearin' him talk at home an' then goin' to the 
meetin*s. All that talk about human rights and liberty 
set me thinkin' about women, the poor women — but 
my father an' my brothers they shut me up if I talked 
of liberty. ' Women ain't the same/ they said. Not a 
bit of good to ask them for why ain't they? — only bid 
me shut up. So I shut up an' kept it all inside me, 
growin' an* growin' as I saw how cruel the law was on 
us women. My mother slaved morn till night, but 
hadn't the right to a penny, not even the divi she could 
save by payin* ready money at the Co-operative Stores 
for our food an' clothes. Then there was my sister, 
she hadn't the right to her own two children she bore 
and raised. Her husband could ship 'em to his uncle 
in Australia with never a word—an* she couldn't get 
free of 'im, even when he went off with another woman, 
an' she could prove it. One day I went to a women's 
meetin* with Misses Toppin here. It was wonderful. 
At the end Fanny Kelly stood up and called out, 
' Who'll come out and fight for the women?' Then 
all at once I stood up and said, ' I will '-—an' it felt 
inside me like doors openin', and my spirit comin' right 
out clean an' free. You don't mind what happens to 
you after that.'* 

" I know that feeling," cried Miss Chad wick, her 
eyes glistening. " It's grand I It's just like that man 
in the fairy tale, do you remember? He was the servant 
of the prince who was turned into a frog, and when his 
master got through with his troubles and was driving 
off with his lovely princess, he heard a great bang 
at the back of the carriage. 'What's that?' he called 


out to his faithful servant. ' Oh, don*t you worry/ said 
the man, ' it's only the iron band that's been round my 
heart all the time you've been a frog — it's burst and 
I'm free of it.' " 

"Ain't that fine?" laughed TUly. 

" I love fairy tales, they always seems to me just 
the truest tales ever written/' said Jenny, 

*' Much more true than ' facts * in the newspapers/' 
said Mrs. Wilmot. " Well, Jenny, yours was the finest 
of all reasons for becoming a Suffragette— the reason 
that started the whole of this glorious woman's move- 
ment, the breaking of the iron bands round our minds 
and hearts/* 

Jenny rose, giving a hand to Tilly. 

" And now it's your turn, Miss Baxter. Here's the 
place of honour — get up." 

" Call me Tilly, please," said the girl, " you said 
you would. No, no, it's not my turn yet, it's . . • 
oh I " She started to her feet, crying in horror-struck 
tones: "Them black spots I Look I" 

Jenny's eyes followed her gesture. " They're mov- 
ing," she cried in dismay. 

"Aye, look at yon wadll" said Mrs, Toppin in low 
tones of horror. 

" Good heavens I This is one of the old cells/' cried 
Mrs. Wilmot. 

Miss Chadwick was the last on whom the hideous 
truth dawned. "Land's sakesi What are they?" she 
asked uneasily. 

" Here's one on my skirt," shrieked Tilly, shaking 
herself violently, 

" Doan' you do that for Lord's sake," Mrs. Toppin 
adjured her. " There's an army of 'em; doan' 
move I" 

" Not move, indeed I " cried Tilly frantically. 
" Easier said than done I I feel 'em all over me," 



" Stand away from the walls everybody/* said Mrs. 
Wilmot, taking command of the disorganised party. 

" I don't mind telling you, I'm just about scared to 
death/' gasped poor Miss Chadwick. "I'd rather face 
an army of tarantulas or cannibals — I just feel so I'd 
give up Women's Suffrage to get out of this cell/' 
They all laughed. " Pitiable, isn't it, but that's my 
miserable mean make-up, and now you know the 

" And yet here you are and here you are going to 
stay, which proves that you're bravest among the 
brave," said Mrs. Wilmot. 

" Don't bank on my courage. If that door don't 
open soon I'll go crazy," Miss Chadwick assured her. 

All five women stood up closely packed together 
in the middle of the cell, their skirts gathered tightly 
about them. For a time no one spoke, then Tilly 
Baxter broke the silence. 

" They left us in one o' these waitin'-cells six an 'arf 
mortal hours, when. I was took up last time, and then 
we'd the doctor and the bath. 'Fore we got to bed 
it was twelve o'clock." 

" But not with these things on the wall?" poor Miss 
Chadwick asked, with clenched teeth and a shiver as 
though she were cold. 

" Not as we saw — ^but it was an awful long time to 
wait," answered Tilly. 

" Oh, tell us all about it — do — it uU help to pass the 
time," suggested Jenny. 

" Yes, and mjake us forget," agreed Miss Chadwick. 
"Ah no^ I can't I" she cried suddenly, "here's some- 
thing on my wrist. It must have fallen from the ceil- 
ing I Oh, can't we ring a bell or hanuner on the door?" 
She looked round despairingly for a bell, while Mrs. 
Toppin banged vigorously on the door. 

"I'm afraid that's no good," said Mrs, Wilmot, 


** You see there were over sixty of us arrested— they 
are all busy— they'll pay no attention to that. We must 
try and wait patiently. Tilly hasn't told us her story 
yet, nor her first prison experiences — that is of vital 
interest to us all, for she is the only one here who 
has already suffered imprisonment for the Cause." 

" Oh, it was nothing to speak of/' said Tilly 
modestly, " only a fortnight for follerin* our leader to 
the House o' Commons." 

" Do tell us just what's going to be done to us to- 
night," said Miss Chadwick. " Will we have to sleep 
in cells like this, because if so I'U only be fit for a 
lunatic asylum by morning?" 

" Well, as I was sayin', I've never seen anything 
like these 'ere nightmares before," said Tilly, " I wa3 
put in the new part; but I've heard many say it was 
so— and worse," 

"Worse I" cried the other four in horror-struck 

" Ever 'eard of 'OUoway 'orses?" asked Tilly slowly^ 

" I have," confessed Mrs, Wilmot. She had for 
many years been a prison visitor. " Don't let's talk 
about them, though. Tell us what they first did with 
you when you were taken out of the waiting-cell/' 

" We were all ready to drop," went on Tilly, " and 
just as empty as— as— cocoanut shells. All of a sudden, 
just when we thought we was goin' to be left there all 
night, the door bangs open and a wardress hollers 
out, ' Now then, you there, out you come, look sharp I ' 
and out we bundled and was marched down passages 
and passages till we come outside the doctor's room. 
Here we was drawn up all of a row. ' Undress,' says 
the wardress, 'look sharp.' 'What?' I sez, 'take off 
my clothing here in public?' 'Do as you're bid and 
strip to your shift,' she growls at me; so I looked at 
the others and foU^red suit— down to yer cbimmy. 


Then up comes the doctor with a machine for tappin' 
you on the chest. '£ didn't take long — ^must be won- 
derful sharp, them doctors, to find out anythin' in the 
time 'e took over me an* that row of women I ' All 
right/ he says/ ' march 'em off, an' let's have the next 
lot quick i' They give us no time to dress properly, 
but just hurried us anyhow down more passages till 
we come to the baths. Here we got a towel an' a shift, 
and were told to get into the baths one by one— they 
didn't look tempting, I'm bound to warn you— but 
that may be owin' to the paint all wore off. No doubt 
they ain't so bad as they look," she added hopefully. 

*' I shall decline to go in/' observed Miss Chadwick 

" Declinin* ain't no good," said Tilly, " unless you 
want three of them great boney wardresses a-leapin' 
on you like wild tigresses an' liftin' you slap in, like 
they did a woman I saw— an old lady she was. She 
declined — said she 'adn't taken a bath for over forty 
year, an' it 'ud kill 'er. ' We'll see 'bout that,' sez one 
of them, and before you could say ' knife ' three of 'em 
dumped 'er right in." 

" But •• Miss Chadwick hesitated. •* Surely they 

don't watch you take the bath?" 

" Not exactly they don't, an' yet they do. You see 
the bath-room door is fixed so they can see your legs 
up to your knees, and your head over the top." 

" Queer sort of door I" ejaculated Mrs. Toppin. 

" Yes, they're a queer sort— so's most things 'ere, 
till you're used to 'em," said Tilly. " Well, when that's 
done they take you into a cell where there's bundles 
of clothes all strewn on the floor, an' you sort out, as 
best you can, a set of underclothes and a nightdress 
and two shoes — you can't get a pair, so it's not a bit 
o' use tryin'. You just take what you can as quick 
as you can/' "* 


*' An' you*re thankful to get a nightdress at all, let 
me tell you/' said Mrs. Wilmot. Two years ago, when 
our women first went to prison, no such luxuries were 
allowed to second-class prisoners. It is entirely owing 
to the letters of complaint from the Suffragettes that 
that reform has come about. Before that you had to 
sleep in the prison shift.*' 

•• Well, you women over here do need the vote, no 
mistake about it I" Miss Chadwick spoke with con- 
centrated conviction, her eyes still riveted on the awful 
wall. '* Those black spots are becoming more numer- 
ous, do you notice?" she asked with a shudder. 

" Better not notice anything," advised Mrs. Wilmot. 
" Just try and keep our minds on something else. 
Tilly, you haven't told us what made you a Suffragette." 

" Oh, my reason's short and not partickly sweet," 
said Tilly with a laugh, " for it was just selfishness 
made me one. I began bein' a Suffragette in my 
cradle, which I *ad to share with my twin brother. 
We were like little turtle-doves as long as we were 
treated fair an' alike; but by an' by Tim began to 
want the biggest half of everything 'cause he was a 
boy — it was my father and mother's fault, they started 
it. Then I was told to mind the baby, 'cause I was a 
girl, 'stead of going to play in the yard with the other 
children, and for the same silly reason I had to tidy 
up what the five boys littered about. That turned me 
a Suffragette— though I'd never heard the name. Then 
Tim and me we fought like two dogs — I for my rights, 
he to take *em away. It wasn't his fault, it was just 
wrong ideas we was all brought up with. Later on 
I wanted to go to a night school— my father offered to 
pay for the boys, but they wouldn't go. When I asked 
to go, ' No,' says he, ' certainly not; what do girls want 
with learnin'? You bide at 'ome and 'elp yer mother 
do the washin*. Then my father died, and my mother 


fell sick an* went to my married brother to live, and 
the only work I could get was the tailorin* — sweated 
labour — ^good weeks I made six shillin'sl" 

"Six shillings a week I" exclaimed the American. 
"And how many hours?'* 

"Anything from twelve (o sixteen— an' a fine very 
often to pay out besides yer cotton/' answered 

" But is there no minimum wage in this country for 
women's labour?" 

" None," said Mrs. Wilmot, " There are some trades 
where they get three and sixpence — well, Tilly?" 

" I was mostly dog-tired by night-time, but I deter- 
mined to learn another trade — ^and I did — I learnt typin' 
out of hours. It was the Women's Union helped me. 
Without them I'd 'ave gone under, like so many poor 
girls do. You canft live on six shillings a week, it 
simply can't be done, 'cept by girls livin* at home, an' 
I'd no home — not that I could go to. I can earn ten 
shillin's a week at typin' now, and I'm a Suffragette 
because I want to make it impossible for any woman 
to have to try an' live on six shillin's a week, workin' 
eleven hours a day," concluded Tilly Baxter. 

" That's sound, and not so selfish as you're pleased 
to make out," said Miss Chadwick. " I don't think 
any of us can find fault with it — not even an * Anti,* if 
we'd got such a person in this luxurious apartment; 
but somehow you don't find * Anti's ' turning up in these 
sort of places for their ' antism '—never heard of one 
yet, did you, Mrs. Wilmot? Now, please, your Canter- 
bury tale — what made you a Suffragette? We all 
know you've been a grand Suffragist all your life — 
what made you a Militant?" 

" Oh, it's a long story— like my life," said the older 
woman, and for the moment a deep shadow crossed her 


" All the better— don't miss a word of it, please/' 
said her American friend. 

And Mrs. Wilmot began her tale: 

"It was my husband made me a Suffragist when t 
was a girl of twenty. He was one of those who came 
to the aid of the brave band of women who fought for 
twenty strenuous years to win the right for married 
women to keep their own earnings, to own their own 
private property " 

" Doesn't that sound like the dark ages?" cried Miss 
Chad wick. 

'* It's dark ages as I can remember well enough 
when I was a lass/' said Keziah Toppin. " My poor 
mother never dare keep back a penny of 'er earnin's 
from my father; and sech a habit it was she daren't 
do it not even when the Bill was passed and folk told 
her she 'ad the law on 'er side. My father wasn't an 
unjust man, neither — 'e was just reared that way." 

"That's it/' Mrs. Wilmot continued, "it's all in 
the rearing. That's why we women have really got 
everything in our own hands, if we only knew it. Well, 
I was past thirty before that fight was won, and ever 
since I've been working for the woman's vote till 
three years ago, when I felt that I had been a quiet, 
patient Constitutional Suffragist quite long enough. It 
came gradually. I think ten years prison visiting was one 
thing that helped to convert me into a Militant Suffra- 
gette, ril tell you just one of many experiences that 
led me to this point and made me feel how desperate 
the need of the vote was in order to make this a 
better world for women and children, and for men, too, 
if they would only see it." 

"That's so," struck in Miss Chadwick, "the chil- 
dren are men as well as women, but the men are always 
forgetting that. • • •" 

" Well> part of my work was to attend the courts 


when the prisoners were dismissed, and try and see 
what one could do to set them on their feet again. One 
day there was a woman, a girl she looked, to whom the 
magistrate addressed a very severe admonition. She 
had been imprisoned for the double offence of accost- 
ing a man in the street and when arrested attempting 
to commit suicide by swallowing prussic acid. She 
made no answer to the magistrate — she never raised 
her eyes — her pale face was set and immovable as a 
stone; she looked, in fact, as if mind and soul were 
petrified. I followed her out of court, and asked 
if I could do anything for her. ' Nothing except leave 
me alone,** she answered in a hard voice. * I don't 
want to bother you, but I'd like to help you if you'll 
let me,' I said. ' I don't want any of your preaching 
— let me alone,' she answered, and moved away. But 
there was something so desolate in her hardness, I 
wouldn*t be rebuffed. So I said very gently, ' I don't 
want to preach to you— who am I to preach to you? — I 
want you to come and have a cup of tea with me and 
just talk over what you'd like to do; I believe I can 
help you.' Then she looked at me as if she would 
read my whole soul for one brief moment. ' I'll come 
with you,' she said in quite another voice, * gentle and 
weary. We had tea together, and then she told me 
her story. She was a country girl and never came to 
London till she married. Her husband got into bad 
company and took to drink. When the second baby 
was coming he deserted her and went with another 
woman to America. She wrote to her mother, a widow, 
and she left her country home, where she lived with 
a married daughter, and came up to be with her in 
London. Soon after the baby was born — dead — the 
mother nursed her devotedly, then fell ill herself— a 
stroke of paralysis. The poor thing's one dread was 
the workhouse; her daughter promised she would never 


let her go there. Then began the terrific battle to 
keep herself, the first child, and her sick mother from 
starvation. She found work in a jelly factory at five 
shillings a week.*' 

Mrs. Wilmot paused. Her hearers gave her the 
absorbed attention which testifies to their interest. Miss 
Chadwick exclaimed, half to herself, " A dollar and a 
quarter I" Mrs. Wilmot nodded assent and went 

" It could not be done. So after vainly trying 
every other means, she made the supreme, the, to her, 
awful sacrifice, of her own body. But one thing she 
determined never to face, and that was the disgrace of 
arrest. So she bought poison and carried it always 
with her. The poor mother knew nothing—she was 
told there was a job which took her daughter out at 
nights. Then one day an over-zealous policeman, who 
had noted the pale, dark-haired woman more than once, 
laid a heavy hand on her shoulder, accusing her in the 
same moment of accosting a man who had passed her 
without more than a curious glance. The accusation 
was untrue — she was far too new and too terrified of 
the terrible trade upon which she had entered to accost 
anyone, but she knew her word would count for no- 
thing. She had no money to buy herself off. She put 
her hand to her breast, and before the policeman 
realised what she was doing, swallowed half the phial. 
She was dragged off to a hospital, and the stomach- 
pump saved her life— dragged her back to the horror 
of renewed slavery. Well, the first thing we did was to 
take her mother and her child out of the workhouse, 
where of course they had been taken. I found she 
had a passionate love of children and of flowers, and 
knew something about the tending of both, so I placed 
the three of them in a small cottage hospital I have in 
the country, to look after the convalescent children and 


the little garden. She has proved a perfect treasure 
to me, and now she wants to go to prison again, and 
has volunteered for danger service in this Cause. That's 
the end of " 

Suddenly the key turned in the cell door and a 
wardress appeared, shouting in strident tones, " Out 
you come — ^the doctor's waitin'." 

Mrs. Toppin, nearest the door, faced her squarely: 
" Step in and look at yon wall, will ye?" 

"The wall's clean enough," returned the woman, 
taken aback somewhat. 

" Look," said Mrs. Wilmot, pointing in her turn, 
" do you call that clean enough?" 

The wardress advanced a step inside and addressed 
Mrs. Toppin. 

" If there's anything there it's what you've brought 

" How dare you say that?" Keziah Toppin retorted, 
the light of battle in her eye. ** Why, the place is 
swarming." She shook her skirts vehemently at the 
wardress, who drew back quickly. 

"Look at this young lady's hat I" cried Jenny, 
pointing at Tilly's hat on the floor. 

The wardress picked up the hat and flung it into 
the passage. " Well, you needn't make such a bobbery 
— ^they won't kill you. Move on now," she ordered the 
prisoners angrily. 

As they passed out. Miss Chadwick observed to the 
angry woman, "I'd like you to thoroughly grasp the 
fact, Misses Wardress, that we none of us can share your 
personal partiality or leniency, shall we designate it, 
for the aborigines of that state apartment, and that we 
entirely decline to return there." 

" You hold yer jaw and hurry yer stumps," rejoined 
the wardress. 

" You'll not get us back to that foul hole, not if you 


drag us by the 'air of our *eads, woman I*' said Mrs. 

•• Well, you'll not have to go there if you keep 
still/' said the wardress, evidently growing a little un- 
easy in her mind, " makin' such a terdo about no- 
thin'," she grumbled. 

Mrs. Toppin turned to her fellow-sufferers: "If 
this be what she calls ' nothin',' I'm wonderin' what 
be ' somethin* 1 " 

It was nearly one o'clock that night before the five 
Suffragists laid their weary bones to rest in their 
solitary cells. The two youngest were soon sleeping 
the deep, restoring sleep of youth, but Euphrasia Chad- 
wick was far too mentally alert to close an eyelid, and 
both Mrs. Toppin and Mrs. Wilmot lay wakeful for 
long hours, the one thinking of her six young children 
and how she could best equip them, especially her girls, 
for the grim life-struggle; Mrs. Wilmot 's mother-heart 
embracing a wider sphere, her whole spirit lifted in a 
yearning prayer for her fellow-women, all prisoners 
and captives, all those that are desolate and oppressed. 



Directly Jenny came out of prison, she found work 
awaiting her. There was no question of returning to 
the mill. The Women's Union needed her services, 
and she became a paid worker of their organisation, 
since it would othervise have been impossible, with 
the help she was obliged still jto give to her family, 
for her to abandon her own work. 

During a short visit home, she made it right with 
both parents; her father, recognising the uselessness 
of objecting, yielded to the inevitable; her mother gave 
her a kind of dumb sympathy and understanding which 
touched her to the quick. 

Peter had made an unexpected recovery at Black- 
pool, and, thanks to the further good offices of Mary 
O'Neil, had started on a new and successful career as 
under-gardener at a place in the neighbourhood. So 
Jenny was free to devote herself to the Cause. 

She had much to learn, for her education in school 
had been of the briefest and sparsest, but she brought 
to bear a rare teachableness and a quick intelligence, 
and Mary O'Neil was her teacher. 

Never in her life had Jenny known such happiness. 
She felt herself growing, unfolding, in this new atmo- 
sphere, mentally, physically, and spiritually — it was a 
wondrous sensation. 

Jenny spoke at the great Albert Hall meeting in 
October. She did it as simply and quietly as though 



talking to her mill-hand friends in the little club-room 
at Greyston. There was something she wanted to say, 
and that those thousands of people, gazing up at her, 
wanted to know — something of tremendous importance. 
Her mind was so full of her subject, she had not a 
moment in which to feel self-conscious, and the deafen- 
ing applause which followed on the mill-girl's speech, 
only touched her as being a tribute to their warm 
interest in the subject. 

When Mary returned to Ireland in December, she 
left Jenny, already an invaluable secretary and assis- 
tant, at the city office. 

In January there was an important by-election in 
the West of England, and Jenny received her march- 
ing orders to join the contingent sent down there, to 
carry out the policy of opposing the Government can- 

The weather was bitterly cold, deep snow had fallen 
all over the country, and every night it froze hard, but 
nothing daunted Jenny and her friends. Every by- 
election gave them an opportunity of making the Gov- 
ernment feel that even the voteless woman could in- 
fluence their returns. A prominent Cabinet Minister 
had recommended the women, " if they were really in 
earnest about the vote, to demonstrate the fact to 
all the world." They were taking his advice, and leav- 
ing no stone unturned to convince the Government as 
well as the world. Every evening they held street 
meetings in various parts of the town to catch the 
electors, and during the day the propaganda was car- 
ried on vigorously by house-to-house canvassing and 
dispensing of pamphlets. Mrs. Roberts, from South 
Australia, as a free woman herself, was lending a 
hand to knock the chains off her shackled sisters of the 
Mother Country^, and a vigorous, helpful hand it wasr 


Plainly dressed in warm long coats and small felt 
hats, Mrs. Roberts and Jenny set out one night towards 
the end of January. The streets were busy as on a 
market-day, and though snow and sleet fell at intervals 
it might have been a pleasant sumider evening for all 
the sturdy Bristol people cared. Jenny and Mrs. 
Roberts were followed by a man drawing a trolly-cart 
packed with Suffrage literature, and decorated so that 
he who ran might read, with a large inscription of 
" Votes for Women.*' At a busy place where five or 
six streets met, they halted. The man pointed across 
the way: 

" It's that 'ere corner wh6re Joneses lot is 'oldin' 
forth, most evenin's," he observed dubiously. 

" Oh, that won't matter to us/' said Mrs. Roberts, 
in nowise disturbed by the information: "we're not 
afraid of competition.'* 

" We'll draw a bigger crowd than Jones, you'll 
see," laughed Jenny. 

" Well, missus, there be rough characters about this 
part— terrible rough/" he warned her. *' Want me 
to stay?" 

" Oh, we're not afraid, you needn't stay, thank you,'* 
said Mrs. Roberts. " We shall get on all rights we 
always do." 

Greatly relieved that his services could be dispensed 
witlv the man wished them good luck and beat a quick 

Both women knew that even if the crowd should 
prove too rough to be pleasant, it was wiser not to 
have a protector in this form, for then the hooligan 
would consider them fair game, and those in the crowd 
who would stand by women if they were alone would 
not feel called upon to do so. Rotten eggs and violent 
attacks, which two years before had been the usual 
reception on such occasions, were becoming rare now 


at open-air meetings, though organised roughs some- 
times managed to make themselves very objection- 
able under cover. Only the night before the women 
had had a nasty experience in the hall of a 
neighbouring town, where a hooligan band of so- 
called students, first letting loose a boxful of rats, 
proceeded then to extinguish all the lights and turn 
on some foul-smelling gas. The presence of mind 
and imperturbable good temper of the three young 
girls on the platform had alone saved the situation. 
Thus have Jane Austen's sweet, sensitive English 
maidens, who went into fits of hysterics at sight of a 
mouse, been transforme<f by a process of rapid evolu- 
tion and adjustment to new environment. 

While Jenny and her friend were arranging their 
cart as a platform from which to speak, a few stragglers 
began to collect and a policeman came up, inquiring 
civilly whether they intended holding a meeting, and 
observing at the same time that they had *' picked an 
'ot corner." 

Jenny assured him they didn't mind hot corners, 
and were bound to come back there, some of the 
women having held a meeting on that spot last night 
and promised to return. But she added they would be 
glad of a friendly eye on them now and then. 

The policeman's eye was distinctly friendly as he 
promised to be round again presently himself, and on 
being offered their weekly paper, he took one, saying 
his " missus " was all for the women gettin' their 
vote, and he " couldn't see why any but dogs-in-the- 
manger was against it.'* 

" I saw with half an eye you were with us," Mrs. 
Roberts called after him as he moved on; " the biggest 
and best men always are," she added, with a grand 
dash into rash generalities. 

By this time the crowd bftd increased to som^ thirty 

f I 


or forty. A band of uncouth-looking youths sur- 
rounded the cart and a rasping chorus bellowed out : 

"'As anybody 'ere seen Kelly? 
Find 'er if you can ; 
Votes for Women, 
Down with man. 
'As anybody 'ere seen Kelly ? " 

This had the result of rapidly adding to the audience. 

Mrs. Roberts stood up in the cart surveying them 
with a good-humoured smile^ without attempting to 
speak. Voices in the crowd were heard above the din: 

•* Shut up, cantcher — shut up — 

" Let's hear what the ladies 'ave got to say 

Then less friendly sounds: 

" Chuck 'em— duck 'em." 

" Take 'em to the river and duck 'em — chuck 'em." 

Mrs. Roberts opened her lips as though to begin, 
but this was the signal for a renewed onslaught pf 
'* 'As anybody 'ere seen Kelly?" 

Mrs. Roberts sat down, still smiling, and Jenny 
stood up and raising her voice till it soared above the 
chorus and reached those beyond, she cried: 

"Yes, yes, I've seen Fanny Kelly — I'll tell you all 
about her if you'll listen and keep the music till later." 

"Let 'er speak — cantcher," said an elderly man in- 
dignantly: "you fire away now, miss." 

Just then the trolly-cart tipped violently backwards 
and then forwards. 

"They're upsetting us," cried Mrs. Roberts; and 
hardly had she spoken when the trolly-cart turned over 
and Jenny with it. Mrs. Roberts, more accustomed to 
these playful forms of hostility, had just time to save 
herself by a nimble leap into the crowd, some of whom, 
with shouts of merriment, held out friendly arms to 
assist her safe descent to the ground. 

Cries of " Shame I" mingled with the laughter when 

i "^ 


it was discovered that Jenny was under the cart, but 
on being extricated the latter insisted emphatically that 
she was not really hurt, only a sprained arm perhaps. 
The light was fitful, and Mrs. Roberts, unable to see 
her face, was deceived by the brave voice. 

The cart was lifted up again, and the culprits made 
off in the general confusion, pursued by indignant mem- 
bers of the audience crying out threats of vengeance. 

" If you don't want us, friends, we can go away,** 
said Mrs. Roberts. Upon which a number of voices 
answered encouragingly: 

" Go on, missus— we'll listen. You're a game pair.'* 

Just then the friendly policeman pushed his way 
through the crowd. With his assistance Mrs. Roberts 
and Jenny climbed up again into the cart, and their 
friends having picked up the scattered papers, Jenny, 
as chairwoman, stood up and began. Her voice rang 
out clear and high into the frosty night: 

" Some of you were asking, to a lively tune, ' Has 
anybody here seen Kelly?* " 

Several voices answered promptly, ** Yes — 'ave you? 
'Ave you, miss?** 

" Yes, I have,'* Jenny sang out, smiling in spite 
of the pain in her arm. " She's a friend of mine, 
I'm proud to say. I've seen her often, and the sight 
is always a cheering one- — " 

Thus far, and the irrepressible chorus yelled out 
with the tone of a brass band: 

'* She b a Uoomin' Suffirigitt, 
For she can kick an' bite an' 'it — 
She can I— She can I— 
For she 'ales man. • . .** 

Loud rang the laughter and applause, and here 
Jenny darted in, an octave higher : 

" You've got a bit mixed, friends, you've been readin* 
the newspapers 'stead of listening to the eye-witnesses » 



Now just let me tell you something true about the 
subject of your song.'* 

The crowd round the women's cart was increasing 
every moment. " Jones's lot " had started at the 
opposite corner with a bigger audience, but Jones's 
speakers had no power of holding the passers-by. 
Gradually they were drawn across the street, and once 
within the sound of Jenny's voice and the sight of her 
small, earnest face, they found themselves held as within 
a magic circle. It was new bread she offered instead 
of stale crusts. From this time the chorus found its musi- 
cal attempts unappreciated, and cries of "Fire away I" 
"Let the young lady speak I" rose from all sides. 

•• Well," said Jenny, " the first time I saw Fanny 
Kelly she was about the size of that gentleman's um- 
brella — ^height and thickness too — but she was working 
as a half-timer, from six in the morning till twelve 
o'clock, eamin* her own livin' and helpin' to keep her 
family, and goin' to school afternoons. I was smaller 
still, not higher than the spikes of the gentleman's 
umbrella, and Fanny Kelly was very good to me. She'd 
take me up in her little bits of arms no thicker than 
matches, and carry me home from school when I was 
tired — ^that's Fanny all over— that's Fanny now " 

Jenny paused. She had won her audience; she 
must keep them, fighting down her pain. 

" I saw Fanny the day she came out of prison," she 
went on. " She was looking as small and white as a 
winter snowdrop, but her face just shone with happi- 
ness. She'd been doing three months in the second 
division, the class for thieves and drunkards and wife- 
kickers — you know the sort. And do you know why 
they put her there?" 

" Obstructin' the perlice in the performance of their 
dooty. She deserved what she got," said a small, red- 
faced man, with eyes like a ferret. 


** No — no I" Jenny answered emphatically, "that's 
quite the wrong way of puttin* it. The police were 
obstructing the women in the performance of their 
duty. Do you know that, according to the statutes of 
this glorious British Constitution, every subject, man 
and woman, has the right to go and present a petition, 
or a complaint, to the Sovereign, or the minister 
who stands for him. It is the police have no legal 
right to obstruct the passage of the subject,*' 

•' The perlice 'ave got to do their dooty," said 
another man, who looked as though he might have 
felt in his own experience the effects of this obligation. 

" Oh yes, we don't blame the police, they're often 
our best friends; but we do blame those who give them 
orders to take away our rights as British subjects," 
said Jenny. Cheers and one or two shrill whistles 
greeted this utterance. 

** You women ain't got no such rights — you're not 
voters I never were and never will be I" cried the last 
speaker when he could get a hearing. 

" Fanny Kelly had as much right to present her 
petition as any man among you, for she is a subject, 
like you are. This old privilege made no difference 
between sexes. In the days when it was granted, 
women landowners, like men, had the vote, and a 
woman with nothing at all was a ' person ' as much as 
a man was." Jenny had forgotten the pain in her arm. 

Here the little ferrety man, observing that he had no 
use for blighted blue-stockings, pushed his way out of 
the crowd, who laughed at his defeat. 

Jenny fired after his retreating figure: 

" The gentleman says women never had the vote. 
He ought to read up his political history before he 
speaks in public. The women's freedom was taken 
away in 1832. You can't take away what a person 
hasn't got. No one has ever stolen a diamond ring 


from met No, let me tell you why they put Fanny 
Kelly in prison. It was because she asked for the 
vote — not for herself, she and all of us would willingly 
give up ever having the vote so long as we live, if 
they'd give the vote to other women who ought to 
have it. When Fanny Kelly realised what the vote 
had done for men, she began to see that it was the 
only way to help women, too. She got me to see it, 
and lots of us up there in the mills. But she knew this 
wasn't a bit of good till she could get the people all over 
the country to see it too — ^the people in the cities, and 
above all in London. So what does she do — she wasn't 
much stouter than an umbrella even then, a slight bit 
of a girl, but she'd got the spirit of " 

" Old Bobs I " suggested a young man near the cart. 

Jenny smiled down on him. 

" Yes, dear old Bobs, and Florence Nightingale, and 
Joan of Arc, and all the heroes and heroines rolled 
into one. So off she started one day with two pounds 
in her pocket, collected by her mates, and a little 
bundle under her arm, and took the train for London. 
' I'm going to rouse London,' she said to her friends, 
and she did it. Brave, noble women rallied round 
her. One founded the great Women's Social and Po- 
litical Union, another the grand League for Women's 
Freedom, which, let me tell you, means men's free- 
dom, too. This is how the militant army came to be. 
I've no time to tell you all that story — you know bits 
of it you've read, all distorted by the Press, but some 
day it will be read by your children and your grand- 
children as it really happened, and they will ask in 
wonder and shame what Englishmen were made of to 
let their best and finest women be treated as our 
women have been treated. Imprisoned, tortured, hurled 
from public meetings for asking, In question time, 
mind you, men, when women will have the vote — the 


clothes torn off their backs, hit io the face, flung down 
and kicked, not only by the stewards but by— I can't 
call 'cm men — I'm sure none of you would " 

" 'Antis '," suggested the young man again. 

•• 'Antis •— yes I •• cried Jenny, ••that'll do nicely. 
I don't think ' Antis ' are really either men or women, 
they are just ' Antis,' born that way, like leopards are 
bom with spots, and you've got to leave 'em so, for 
they can't wash out. Well, these spotted * Antis,' they 
seem to go quite mad if they hear the words ' Votes 
for Women.' They just fling decency and common hu- 
manity and justice to the winds, and go stark mad. 
They break the laws of the country and treat a prisoner 
on remand like a condemned criminal; they turn a 
water-hose on to a woman in her cell — Visiting- Justices 
did that I Nice Visiting- Justices I [Cries of *' Shame, 
shame I "] They get so hysterical with the fear their 
bad consciences make for them, that the Cabinet Minis- 
ters daren't have a woman attend one of their public 
meetings, and they go about with an army of detectives 
to protect 'em, just as if they were the Czar of 
Russia I " 

•' What d'yer fight against the Liberals for?" shouted 
a man who had just come over from Jones's lot. 

"Why do you throw stones? — come now I" said 

" One at a time, please. The first speaker asks why 
we fight the Liberals. We don't fight them as Liberals 
— we fight this Government because they refuse to do 
us justice, or receive our deputations, because they 
break their pledges, because they refuse to allow our 
Bill the fair play they give to any other Bill passed 
by half the majorities as Women's Suffrage has gained 
in the House. One after another they've killed our 
Bills by a base trick— you know this." 

" The Conservatives won't treat you no better," 


Jenny turned on the speaker: 

*' Then we'll serve them just the same way as the 
Liberals — ^make no mistake about that. We women 
work party, we've got a bigger thing on hand 
than any party question. It's our homes we're fighting 
for — our children — their feedin*, their education " 

" 'Ow many 'ave you 'ad, miss, eh?" said one of 
the chorus youths. 

Ignoring the question and the laugh that followed, 
Jenny continued: "Our right to work — our right 
to the laws we've got to obey. Oh, don't be afraid 
but we'll go for the Conservatives right enough if they 
dare treat us as this Liberal Government have done. 
Liberals they call themselves I Fine Liberals indeed I 
Taxation and representation go together, do they? How 
about that half the nation who's paying taxes and 
refused representation, eh?" 

" Shame I Shame I" cried several voices. 

" Yes, you're right, my friends. And if every man 
who has a vote himself would only cry ' Shame I' like 
some of you just now, they'd never dare go on doing 
it. If you would stand by us now as we women stood 
by you men when you came out to fight for youtr vote 
at the battle of Peterloo— " 

"Hool hool Peterlool Bungabool'* shouted the 
chorus, but Jenny had said what she wanted and let 
them shout; she knew she could only hold out a little 
longer. Then again rang out the question: 

" Why do you women throw stones, I say?" 

With a strong effort of will she threw out her voice : 

" For the same reason you men throw them when 
you have a grievance — ^as a protest — ^a symbol — but you 
men throw stones at people very often, and injure with 
them too, don't forget — while we women throw them 
only at windows, and wait to throw them till the 
blinds are down." 


Laughter and cheers greeted this reply. But a small 
hunchback man lifted his voice in a high querulous 
falsetto : 

** It's no good you talkin* — you women can't fight 
and you oughtn't to have the vote." 

"Hear, heart" took up the opposition loudly, and 
many who had begtm to waver joined in. 

" Well, if you gentlemen are fair-minded, you'll have 
to refuse the vote then to all men who are not soldiers," 
said Jenny, with a smile. "That's the weakest argu- 
ment an Englishman can bring out." 

" 'Tain't ladylike wotiver you may say, throwin' 
stones an' breaking winders," said a powerful-looking 
woman, with a masculine voice, and a large picture- 
hat very much the worse for wind and weather. 

" Ladylike I Well, perhaps not. Is it ladylike to 
be doin' sweated labour eleven hours a day at five 
shillin's a week?" asked Jenny. "Was the French 
g^rl ladylike who stabbed the tyrant, and gave her life 
as the price? I'll tell you what it is, friends, we've got 
to be real, true women before we worry about bein' 
ladylike. There's a good many ladies who'd be doin' 
far more good in the world if they thought more about 
their womanhood and less about their ladyhood, let me 
tell you. There's times when your womanhood calls on 
you to fight — to fight for liberty and truth and justice, 
and it's only cowards and slaves hang back. • • ." 

Suddenly she swayed, but saved herself by catching 
hold of the side of the cart for support. Having done 
her part of the evening's work, the incentive which 
kept her up removed, her strength ebbed fast. In a 
voice that sounded, in her own ears, a mile away, she 

"Now Mrs. Roberts here, from Australia, will tell 
you about the vote in her country, and how it works." 

She sat down at the back of the cart 'mid the cheers 


of the audience, and Mrs. Roberts, suspecting nothing 
but that Jenny was, perhaps, a little tired and shaken 
by her fall, rose to address the crowd in her turn. 

"Are you a wife of old Bobs?" inquired a young 
man with a slight lisp. 

"No such luck/* Mrs. Roberts answered genially; 
" Tm only an Australian cousin, but proud to bear 
the name. Now, friends, I just want to begin by 
saying. I think the reason a great many of you British- 
ers are afraid to let your women have the vote is you 
don't feel sure what they'll do with it when they've got 
it— isn't that so?" 

" They won't be 'appy till they get it," said the wit 
with a lisp. 

" Quite right, my friend, they won't. Moral— give it 
them quick. But you've been scared by the screams 
of the Antis who say women have no patriotism — no 
sense of Imperial interests—' female influence in foreign 
affairs would bring disaster upon the Empire,' 
etcetera " 

" So it would " shouted a man. 

" Silence there— let the lady speak, cantcher," said 

Mrs. Roberts went on without heeding interruptions: 

" Now, friends, my answer to these alarmists is — the 
proof of the pudding is in the eating. In Australia 
we've eaten this pudding, so I can tell you how it has 
agreed with us. I'm a free woman — I've had my own 
vote these fifteen years past, and I'll just tell you what 
we women have done in my country since we've had 
the Suffrage. To begin with, we've voted for the best 
men — no man with the slightest taint on his character, 
however brainy or pushing he might be, runs any 
chance with us women. And now, here are a few of 
the Bills passed in my state in South Australia since 
women gave things a shove. First, old-age pensions, 


a better Bill than youVe managed to get, my friends. 
For years they'd been talking and worrying and send- 
ing members pledged to support this Bill, but the very 
year women were allowed to exercise the vote talking 
had to turn into doing — and a Bill was passed giving 
seven shillings a week to every man and woman at the 
age of sixty-five. It is now raised to ten shillings a 
week. In countries where women are political equals 
with men they have equal citizen rights, you seel" 

" Tm off t* Australia— that's the country for women," 
said a nice-looking young woman. 

'* Before you start listen to a few more good Bills 
the women backed — I hope it will make you stay and 
set to work to get the same done here in your Own 
country. Here's for the children — Children's Labour 
and Factory Acts — Children's Free Education — Institu- 
tion of Children's Courts — Protection of Children — State 
Children's Homes — ^Legitimation of Children — Suppres- 
sion of Indecent Publications — Prohibition of Smoking 
for boys under sixteen " 

" That ain't a bad record for the kids," said the 
elderly woman. 

Mrs. Roberts turned round to her, but spoke for 
all to hear: " Aye, and it was the mothers of Australia 
who went solid for the most patriotic form of conscrip- 
tion ever passed by any country — a Bill which will give 
a fine sound military training to all lads and turn them 
out at eighteen fine manly fellows physically well de- 
veloped, able to ride and shoot and walk and run, 
mentally well-trained to use both eyes and ears, morally 
educated and disciplined to obey, and so one day to 
know how to command. What a crying need I see at 
every street corner here for that Bill, my friends I" 

" We don't want none of your conscription 'ere — 
we're a free people, we are," cried a man's voice 
angrily » 


Mrs. Roberts laughed: "Are you? We'll be seeing 
what the Germans think of your freedom before long, 
my friend, for they're coming soon as ever they can 
get good and ready — ^make no mistake." 

•• They won't give you women no votes if they do 
come/' answered the man. 

** No, nor you men either, let me tell you— but they'll 
take your idle loafing lads and drill them into shape 
for German regiments," said Mrs. Roberts. 

" You go 'ome and mind the baby," cried the man, 
with a laugh, which he had the satisfaction of hearing 
echoed on all sides. He felt himself superlatively 

" I've minded him so well he's grown into a fine 
fellow, ready and able at nineteen to fight for his 
country. You go home and do likewise, my friend, 
with your son if you've got one," retorted Mrs. Roberts, 
to the delight of the fickle element in the crowd who 
always number nine-tenths. 

'* Tell us what you've done for women in Australia," 
said the elderly woman, gaining courage, though not 
enough to be heard except by those close by. 

Mrs. Roberts repeated the question for the benefit 
of the audience and went on to enumerate: "First, 
Married Women's Property — you know it took those 
two fine countrywomen of yours, Mrs. Belloc and Mrs. 
Bodichon, and the men who helped them, over twenty 
years' hard work to get that passed, but we with our 
vote had no need for any fight. Then Protection of 
Girls till the age of Eighteen — ^Women's Wages — Mar- 
ried Women's Protection." 

" 'Ow about married men's protection, eh? It's all 
for the women in your bloomin' country," said a 

" Oh, here's something for you men," laughed Mrs. 
Roberts — " Workmen's Compensation— Police Pensions 


—Workmen's Wages — Early Closing— Gambling Sup- 
pression '• 

" Thank you for nothing/* said a new speaker. " We 
don't want no grandmotherly Government — you womenM 
be stoppin' war next " 

'* What praise could be higher?" Mrs. Roberts took 
him up quickly. " But we'd stop war only by the 
right means, and that is by being properly prepared. 
Women always vote for National Defence, my friends — 
it is the instinct of the mother-bird to defend the nest, 
you seel Who was it came forward with the first offer 
of a Dreadnought to help the Mother Country? Why 
the country whose women have the vote " 

" Well done, Australia— three cheers for Mrs. 
Bobs 1 " echoed on all sides. 

" Thank you, friends, I appreciate that for my coun- 
try's sake. Now don't you men be afraid to give your 
women the vote — the testimony of the late Prime Minis- 
ter of New Zealand is worth remembering — ^mind you, 
he was opposed to Women's Voting at first, but after 
noting the effects during thirteen years of his Premier- 
ship this is what he said in a public speech — ^The 
Woman's Vote has done nothing but good. It has 
raised the moral, social, and spiritual tone of this 
country, and I only hope every British country will 
follow our example and free her women." 

" All very fine, but you women won't stop there," 
said another man. " Don't you want to get into Par- 
liament? Come, now, let's have the truth I" 

" This gentleman wants to know if we women want 
to get into Parliament," said Mrs. Roberts; " I've no 
ambition that way myself, I've other fish to fry. But 
if I had a wish to get into Parliament, that wouldn't 
get me elected. My countrymen and countrywomen in 
a large majority would have to combine in wishing it 
too, you see." 


"Aye, but if we get Universal Suffrage the women 
here'ull outnumber the men, and where'll we men be 
then?*' answered the man. Other men's voices en- 
couraged him: 

•• That's it— that's it— hit the nail on the head." 

" Give 'em an inch they'll take an ell." 

But Mrs. Roberts was in no way disturbed. 

" This gentleman is talking just as if all the men 
were ranged on one side and all the women on the 
other. Such a situation is inconceivable. Even if 
women-voters were to outnumber men, which they never 
will, they'd be divided up into every shade of party 
just as you men are. Why, they are not even com- 
bined over this question of supreme importance to 
their own sex — their political liberty. You've got the 
Suffragists, the Amis, and the great mass of Inunov- 
ably Indifferent. It will always be so while human 
beings live. This is only another scare, my friends — 
an Anti scare I The interests of men and women are 
too interwoven for a sex war ever to be possible. If 
you tried to range men on one side and women on the 
other, you'd find half the women dressing up as men 
and fighting with their boys I" 

The audience veered and were with her again now, 
laughing at her opponents: 

"That's true— good old Mrs. Bobs I" cried a fresh 

" Why can't you women leave the men to make your 
laws for you if we're all such good friends as you 
make out?" shouted a inan. 

" I'm glad the gentleman asked that question. You 
all heard it — yes? Well, now that's a most reasonable 
question, and I think I've got what you'll all admit is 
a still more reasonable answer, which I shall put in 
the Irishman's way by asking another question. Why 
don't we leave the men to say our prayers for us and 


to eat our dinners for us and to do fifty other things 
we've got each one to do for ourselves — eh?" 

'* Tain't the same thing— law-making be men's busi- 
ness/' said a red- faced man. 

A woman turned on him with a mocking laugh : 

" Git out, you old tow-rag I Fine business you've bin 
after. Just out of the * Pig an' Whistle ' — I see yer 
there — a-makin' laws for women, I s'posel" 

Laughter, cheers, and jeers greeting her sally from 
the people round them, and the red-faced individual 
shuffled off. 

" Wait a bit, friends," cried Mrs. Roberts, impelling 
silence and attention; " the gentleman says it's men's 
business to make laws?" 

" Aye, an' women's business to keep them," said 
another man sturdily. 

Mrs. Roberts turned her guns on him promptly: 
" Oh, I see — ^but look here, if it's man's business to 
make laws for the benefit and protection of women and 
children, why don't you attend to it better?" 

'* So we do," he retorted. " Mention a single law that 
hasn't been passed to benefit the women and children 
the same as the men. — Come, now, I challenge you I'* 

" Got 'er there, Jim," said one of his friends. ^ 

" Come, missus, speak up I " chimed in an impartial 

" She cawnti" jeered the opposition. 

Mrs. Roberts waited till the speakers were silent. 
*' Can't she?" she inquired blandly. " It strikes me 
this gentleman is not very well up in the laws of his 
country, my friends. No doubt he has been occupied 
in drawing up new ones for women to obey." 

Renewed laughter, jeers and cheers. 

" How about the recent Post Office disputes? Nicely 
the women have been represented, eh? How about 
inheritance laws? Doesn't a father get everything, a 


mother nothing, of the property of a son or daughter 
dying intestate? How about divorce laws? Do the 
goose and tne gander get the same sauce, eh? And 
if that scheme for a national insurance* comes off, do 
you think the male voter and the voteless female will 
be equally cared for?*' 

" Certainly they will I *' shouted the man. 

"Why so?" retorted Mrs. Roberts. "How about 
the unhappy girl who falls a victim to a bad man? 
Does equal punishment fall on both, or all the dis- 
grace, expense, and penalty on the one, while the other 
goes scot-free? How about rights of parents? Is the 
mother an equal guardian of her own child? How 
about equal wages for equal work? . . . Why, I could 
go on till to-morrow morning.'* 

"Lord, what a gift o' the gab I No wonder yer a 
widow I " came from the outposts, but those near listened 

Mrs. Roberts went on earnestly: " But that is not my 
point — my point is that quite apart from the fact that 
all questions such as tariff reform, education, foreign 
relations, and war, touch women every bit as vitally 
and closely as men, you canH, however much you 
may try, do the whole of the housekeeping thoroughly 
and effectively without the help of the women." 

" We don't want you women interfering — we'll see 
you don't get the vote I" shouted a new-comer. 

" I've got it, my friend, thank you." Mrs. Roberts 
could not keep the triumphant satisfaction out of her 
voice. " I'm a free woman, as I've told you. But I 
would say to this gentleman, ' Go to the bee, thou 
Ami; consider her ways and be wise.' If it's 
not enough for you to look at Australia and New 
Zealand, and five states of the American Union, to say 

* This meeting was held some years before the National Insurance 
Bill was presented in Parliament. 


nothing of Norway and Finland, look at the bees. What 
country can boast such law and order and prosperity as 
the bees '-hive? — yet her laws are all made by the ladies I " 

** Aye, and they don't 'ave no wife-beaters nor 
'usban's boozin' away all their earnin's at the * Pig an' 
Whistle 'I " said the elderly woman. 

" No, my friends, that they don't," said Mrs. 
Roberts. " Nor do they allow the young bees to be 
fed on food which is not guaranteed both pure and 
fresh. I've a little tale I want to tell the gentleman 
who said just now he wanted no women ' interfering ' 
in the housekeeping of this nation. • . •" 

" 'E's shuffled of!," laughed a small boy; "don't 
want to 'ear no more — fed up, 'e wasl" 

" Well, I'm sorry," said the lady; " it's a nice, in- 
structive little tale. Please now listen to this, friends. 
Last sunmier I took a party of ten small boys and 
girls from the country to spend an afternoon in your 
fine Zoological Gardens in London. We had a lovely 
time — rode the elephants, saw the lions fed, talked to 
the monkeys, and threw buns to the polar bear. This 
made us feel hungry ourselves, so off we trotted to 
find the best refreshment place on the grounds. We sat 
down to the little tables under the trees and ordered 
cakes galore and glasses of milk, none of the young 
people being tea-drinkers. Now when that milk was 
served — twopence a glass it was — ^what was my astonish- 
ment and horror to see printed in large black letters 
on each white glass — the glasses were of clouded glass, 
so you could read it and make no mistake — these words, 
*Noi guaranteed either fresh or pure milk.' " 

"Shame — shame 1 that's what I call it," cried a 
woman's voice. 

" So do I, friend. Well, I called the waiter. ' What- 
ever is the meaning of this?' I asked. ' Meaning? 
Well, it's plain, isn't it?' he answered in a tone that 


showed he'd been asked that question more than once. 
' We don't guarantee the milk— you take it on your 
own responsibility/ * Oh, indeed/ I said, * but you 
take the payment, twopence for half a pint of milk 
that I should only pay in other countries for milk that 
was guaranteed both fresh and pure. You*re not selling 
it off half-price as damaged goods, are you?' The 
waiter turned on his heel, bidding us take it or leave 
it in quite a rude way, my friends." 

" Well, after all, no one could say you was bein* 
deceived," said a man who had tried to interrupt several 
times. *' '£ didn't make the children drink it." 

" Garn you I the rascal done that to perteckt 'imself, 
not the pore childern," said a woman near him. 

Mrs. Roberts nodded approval. 

" Looks that way, doesn't it, friends? With those 
glasses he'd nothing to fear, that contractor. But I 
want just to point out this — in no other country I ever 
heard of could such a thing take place. Even in ex- 
clusively men-ruled countries, the public health is pro- 
tected by stringent laws, which would land any man 
promptly in jail who dared to put up milk at all for 
sale which could not pass the test of freshness and 
purity. In America, in France, in Germany, in my own 
country, the owner of these glasses would not dare show 
the tip of his nose; which just proves that here in 
England, my friends, you need the mothers of the 
nation to make a few good laws for the protection of 
your food-stuffs, far more, not less, than in other coun- 
tries* The Zoo is a place, mind you, specially fre- 
quented by children, and where no other refreshments 
can be obtained for miles around. This caterer has 
practically a monopoly there, but he shields himself 
behind his impudent tumblers; and the fathers and 
mothers of England sit down quietly under it. Well, 
the Suffragettes are not going to do sO| and when 



they've got the vote those white glasses will soon be 
smashed, and no man will dare put on sale milk that 
isn't guaranteed fresh and pure — no, nor any food that 
isn't good and wholesome." 

'* I'm with you women there, if only you'd stick to 
that side of the question/' said a man who had not 
spoken before. 

" Oh, we'll stick to our own work," cried Mrs. 
Roberts, " but it's a bit more far-reaching than some 
of you realise. Well, my friends, I hope you men 
here are going to help your women as our men helped 
us. They can't get on without you any more than you 
can without them. And the way you can best help just 
now is by voting against a Government which refuses to 
do them justice. Hands up who's for Ihe women I" 

A stack of arms went up among the crowd by way of 
answer, and a group of six men pushed forward. 

" Here's six of us who'll give our votes this time to 
the women I" shouted the spokesman for all to hear. 
*• We've voted Liberal before, but we're not going 
to vote for a Government as can treat the women as 
this one 'ave done. It's a disgrace to England." 

Cries of "Hear, hear I" rose on every side. 

" So we've determined to give you women our vote to 
do as you like with. We'll vote just the way you say." 
He turned to Mrs. Roberts. " You can take down our 
•names and addresses, missus, straight away." 

"This is the finest moment in my life in the old 
country, my friends," sang out Mrs. Roberts. 

The crowd swayed, and three more men pushed for- 

"Make way, please I" cried Mrs. Roberts, '* make 
way I Here's more coming— more and more and more." 

" Yes, 'ere's another for you, if you can make men 
of the loafin' lads," said another man. 


" Ten votes gained to the Woman's Cause to-night. 
They'll cheer you in Australia so loud you'll hear them." 

"I'd give you my vote, ladies, but I haven't got one; 
being a defender of my country, you see, I'm never 
eligible for the vote," cried a soldier in the crowd. 

'• Never mind, my friend," said Mrs. Roberts. " Your 
heart's in the right place. Will you buy one of our 
papers? Jenny, have you got the papers there?" She 
turned round, but Jenny did not answer, nor did she move. 

Mrs. Roberts went quickly to her side. Was she 

Her head rested against the back of the cart, the 
light from a gas-lamp fell on her face. 

"She has fainted 1 Here, quick, some one please 
fetch some water,'* cried Mrs. Roberts. 

The grey, elderly woman came forward eagerly to 
help, and half a dozen people ran off to get water, 
brandy, anything they could think of. 

A young man pushed his way forward as the word 
went round that the young lady was ill. 

" I'm a doctor," he said: " let me attend to this." 

He jumped quickly on to the cart, and as he ex- 
amined Jenny, Mrs. Roberts explained that the cart 
had been overturned and Jenny with it, but only bruised 
and shaken, so she had said. 

" You women have no business doing this kind of 
thing,'* he muttered angrily. " Bruised and shaken, 
indeed I*' His expert fingers gently raised Jenny's left 
arm. She groaned, and half opened her eyes. 
" Fractured arm," he said shortly. 

" And to think of her standin' up and makin' that 
'ere speech with a broken arm 1 " cried one of the men 
who had given his vote. " Well, that girl deserves to 
sit in Parliament, blest if she don't," he added, with 
delightful masculine logic. 



A YEAR had passed away since Jenny enlisted in the 
fighting army, an eventful year for the Woman's Move- 
ment. Many streams had flowed into the river, ir- 
resistibly attracted by its noble, dauntless energy and 
unswerving purpose; streams which had sprung from 
equally pure sources, but grown weak, and even slug- 
gish, in their never-ending contest with the rocks and 
impediments of every description which obstructed their 
passage; streams also of youthful energy and idealism, 
seeking organisation and direction, these had gladly 
joined forces with the great movement. All over the 
world a wireless message had flashed, and women were 
awakening to the call made to their noblest womanhood, 
to the uplifting of the soul of woman, to the realisa- 
tion of her grave responsibility as the guardian and 
the trainer of the race, the spiritual influence without 
which the practical and intellectual could never achieve 
the welfare or progress of the human family. 

During the past year the women, and the men who 
nobly stood by them, had realised more than ever that 
they fought not against mere indifference and igno- 
rance, but against bitter antagonism, and, very often, an 
unscrupulous tyranny, the result of that unreasoning 
hatred which invariably rises up hydra-headed to op- 
pose any attempt to introduce reform, to purify social 
conditions, to loosen the chains of the captives. They 
had suffered imprisonment for the offence of attempt- 



ing to petition the House of Commons, of long sen- 
tences for which there was no precedent, and which the 
magistrates did not disguise they gave in accordance 
with instructions from the Home Secretary; imprison- 
ment in the same second class as the thief and the 
drunkard, in spite of the fact that their offence had 
been allowed by the two Cabinet Ministers on oath at 
the famous Bow Street trial, to be a political one. 

In obedience to the instructions of a Cabinet Min- 
ister that women should be *' ruthlessly thrown out *' of 
public meetings, for asking the question in question 
time, when women taxpayers would have the vote for 
which they paid, they had endured violence and insult 
of the most revolting description. 

They had been maligned and libelled grossly by a 
large section of the Press, which at the same time 
studiously boycotted all accounts of the more serious 
and important work of the movement, rarely mentioning 
the great meetings continually held all over the king- 
dom, the numerous deputations, the open-air assemblies 
and processions, and the active political work at by- 
elections which was already becoming a serious factor, 
as the political agents and wire-pullers were forced 
to acknowledge. The Press misrepresentations had . 
alienated many whose sympathy would have been with 
the brave women giving their lives, and all they pos- 
sessed, to further the cause of liberty and justice. But 
in spite of all opposing forces, including the fashionable 
Anti-Suffrage Society, which it would be crushing a 
mosquito on a wheel to designate as a force, the winged 
woman's movement swept on triumphant, neglecting 
no opportunity, however great, however small; the 
woman's wit devising endless ways and means hitherto 
undreamt of by " mere man " in his fights for liberty. 

A pantechnicon furniture van had been requisitioned 
to convey a deputation of twenty women to the very 


gates of the forbidden House of the People's Repre- 
sentatives. Unsuspected, they had passed through an 
army of police armed to the teeth to repel the approach 
of the voteless women, and some had succeeded in even 
entering the sacred precincts before being arrested. 

Balloons, to the accompaniment of a megaphone, had 
served to shower down pamphlets upon the heads of 
those whose hands refused to receive them, and this 
when their owners deexped themselves secure within 
their park gates at political garden-parties, or enjoy- 
ing their tea on the Terrace of the House of Commons. 

The motor-car had also been pressed into the ser- 
vice, and in working for this truly democratic measure, 
the enfranchisement of the working women, may have 
thereby partly atoned for some of its sins as the rich 
man's luxury, overrunning the country as it does, and 
destroying in its blind, selfish course the cottage garden 
and the peace and safety of the village street for 
children and old people. 

As means of advertisement, the horse, the dog, the 
donkey, the carrier-pigeon, and every domestic animal 
available, had contributed their help, while girls of all 
classes had gladly braved the odium of pacing the streets 
between sandwich-boards, and standing for hours at 
street-corners, selling the Suffrage newspapers and 

Magic-lantern and cinematograph shows, bazaars, 
concerts, and theatrical performances, not an art which 
could appeal to ear or eye but had been called upon 
to contribute its best. And still there was more to 
come. The resources of women were only just begin- 
ning to open up their endless possibilities. Courage, 
self-abnegation, forethought, invention, and keen sense 
of humour, marked the tactics of the militant movement. 
If perfect omniscient wisdom did not invariably per* 
meate each new device to further their great Cause^ 


they did but show themselves to be daughters of two 
parents,*a human father as well as mother. What 
general can show a big campaign in which his wisdom 
and foresight never for an instant failed him? And 
what general can be held responsible for the action of 
every officer and private in the ranks, during the excite- 
ment and rush of an engagement on the field? Already 
the woman's militant force numbered over a hundred 
thousand strong, largely recruited from the young, 
ardent womanhood of the working and professional 
classes. And still they came, persecution, suppression, 
and injustice merely serving to augment the numbers — 
to call forth fresh acts of devotion, and pour fresh 
supplies into the treasurer's hands. 

It was June. In the heather and pine country of 
Surrey, which looks as though it had been sliced out 
of Perthshire, and dropped down within easy reach of 
the poor toiling Londoner, by a beneficent giant, stood 
Mrs. Wilmot's pleasant little bungalow, with, close by, 
her cottage hospital for convalescent children. Under 
a clump of fragrant dark pines Jack Wilmot lay full 
length, reading and dreaming on this sunny afternoon. 
He looked up as his mother came out of the house, 
having just driven up from the station, a little maid 
accompanying her, laden with parcels, banners, and 

" You're late again," he said reproachfully, and 
slowly lifting his six foot from the ground. " You 
promised you would take this afternoon off — you women 
always overdo things, my dear mother." He placed 
a rocking-chair for her and a rug under her feet. 

** Overdo things I" The keen blue eyes looked up 
at him smiling with youthful enthusiasm. " My dear 
boy^ I'm not doing half enough with two of our leaders 

% ^ 


in prison stilK Oh to be young and strong, with an 
inexhaustible store of energy to draw from I But I shall 
soon be like a giant refreshed in this life-giving air." 

Her son looked at the frail> almost transparent face» 
the thin delicate hands, and shook his head doubtfully. 

" I fear this Cause will be the death of you if you 
go on like this." 

*' On the contrary/* she laughed, " it's the life of 
me, and of all whom it possesses. For five-and-thirty 
years, as you know, I worked among other things 
for Women's Suffrage, growing older, wearier, and 
more heart-sick every year. Then comes this wonder- 
ful new movement, full of youth and hope and a 
quenchless fire of devotion and enthusiasm. It seizes 
me by the hand, lifts me out of approaching old age 
into an atmosphere of golden youth, fills me with 
its power and rejuvenates me ten years in as many 
days. The death of me I Well, to live as I live now, 
with the goal in sight, is worth a death so glorious 1" 

He looked at her thoughtfully, admiringly. '* I envy 
you women — yours is the only cause on earth I feel 
to be even a bigger one than ours I*' 

" Ah, my son," she answered, " the best and truest 
kind of Socialism will follow in the wake of the free- 
dom of women— I am convinced of it. All true pro- 
'gress will be made easier." 

" Is your little prot6gde. Miss Clegg, coming down 
to-day?" he inquired, after a pause. 

" Yes, she and Miss O'Neil. She wrote me they 
hoped to be here in time for tea. Mary O'Neil has to 
go back to Town to-night." 

" But Jenny Clegg is staying over Saturday and 
Sunday, isn't she," he asked eagerly. 

" I am not sure, but I hope so — she needs a rest," 
said his mother, " and we may all have a hard time 
before us soon." 


There was a pause. Both mother and son were 
siknt, each had somethmg to say to the other, and the 
other felt it. The silence was merely a cessation of 
speech while thought was busy. A little breeze stirred 
among the pines, a blackbird trilled his glad note over- 
head, and the bees hummed drowsily among the open- 
ing heather blossoms. 

Mrs. Wilmot at last broke the silence: 

" Jack, my son, I've something I want to tell you. 
Prison is going to be a much more serious thing for 
our women. • • •" She hesitated, and added with 
slow emphasis, '* for us, in future." 

Jack, who had thrown himself down at his mother's 
feet, looked up quickly: 

** More serious — what do you mean?" 

'* There is a general resolution," answered his 
mother, '* though of course no sort of law is laid 
down, that in future if the claim to be treated as 
political prisoners is still ignored, in spite of all our 
protests and the efforts made by our friends in the 
House, the Hunger Strike will be adopted." 

"The Hunger Strike I" Jack Wilmot sat upright, 
protest and expostulation in his tone. 

" Yes, one of our women having so courageously 
carried it out, all feel there must be no stepping back- 
ward where she has led the way." 

"The Hunger Strike— but it can't be done," he 
protested. " One exceptionally constituted woman may 
have been able to accomplish this — but, believe me, not 
without serious risk — ^and for the majority who are 
very far from robust, it will mean ... for God's sake, 
don't let them start that." 

" I have not the slightest power of preventing it, 
even had I the wish, which I have not. I have put 
my hand to the plough, my son," answered his mother. 

" Well, they'll break down, and the Movement will 


suffer. Do you know Admiral Boyne, speaking of 
what that girl did the other day, declared that in the 
navy, where the men sometimes try it, he has never 
known a ' blue- jacket ' stand out beyond forty-eight 

" But women have a different purpose, a different 
inspiration, from the poor rebellious sailor. They ac- 
quire a strength not their own in normal conditions, 
just as the early Christians did. But we won't talk 
about it now," she added, with a quick change of tone, 
as the maid came out bringing a tea-table and tray. 
" Here comes tea, and I am in no mood to be a 
tea-striker to-day. . • ." 

" And here come our guests I " Jack jumped up as 
the sound of girls' voices laughing and talking was 
heard not far off. Another moment and the neat little 
white-capped maid announced with a beaming grin of 
personal pleasure : . 

" Miss O'Neil and Miss Clegg." 

Both wore cool white dresses and little badges of 
the violet and green Union colours. Jenny, in spite 
of a most eventful year, had altered very little — she 
had unfolded, but not changed. Mary O'Neil had 
distinctly gained. The year had brought her what 
she had long sought, an object for which to give her 
best powers, satisfying at once her heart and mind and 

Mrs. Wilmot welcomed them both warmly, and Jack 
supplied them with garden-chairs in shady spots, and 
then plied them with tea, cakes, and fruit as they sat 
down under the pine trees. 

" We have both most thrilling news for you," said 
Mary to her hostess. " Mine being the best, I'll keep 
it for the last, and Jenny shall begin." 

Jenny looked up with her quiet little smile and 
said simply: 


" I was sent by Parcel Post this morning to Down* 
ing Street." She spoke as though it were an ordinary 
means of locomotion. 

"You were sent as a parcel?*' Mrs. Wilmot's tone 
expressed utter bewilderment, but her son burst out 
laughing : 

"What a ripping ideal Of course, the new postal 
arrangement which came into operation yesterday — go 
on, Miss Clegg, were you safely delivered at the Prime 
Minister's door?" 

" Do begin from the beginning, my dear child," her 
hostess begged. So Jenny, thus encouraged, told how 
she and Hilda Smith, another young member of the 
Women's Social and Political Union, had been labelled 
and directed from the City office, and conducted by a 
nice chubby-faced little messenger-boy down the Strand 
and Whitehall, even to the sacred portals of Number i o 
Downing Street, each of the girls bearing enormous 
placards inscribed " Votes for Women." The little 
procession had attracted a considerable amount of at- 

" When we came to Downing Street," said Jenny, 
" the police on that beat would have stopped us, but 
the little messenger-boy showed his order to deliver 
the parcels at the door, so he called to another police- 
man and they consulted together and decided they'd got 
to let us go by or there might be trouble. I noticed 
those policemen tried hard not to smile. You see, the 
boy was so small and the parcels so big, and they are 
wonderfully conscientious men, the London police I 
Well, when we got to the Prime Minister's door, there 
were three menservants came to look at us. They, 
didn't smile. — Oh, dear me no — they were much too 
grand to smile I Living with a Prime Minister takes 
out all your sense of humour, I expect," reflected 
Jenny. " But," she continued, " they were rude, I piay 


say very rude, and the butler, after looking us up and 
down with great scorn and indignation, refused to sign 
for us and slammed the door in our faces. So we 
couldn't get in with the Petition, after all," she con- 
cluded regretfully^i 

" And the messenger-boy had to take back his re- 
jected parcels,*' observed Jack Wilmot, in the same 
dejected tone; *' rough luck I" 

" Ah, but the best of it is," cried Mary, " there's 
not an evening paper which doesn't give an account of 
it. I have brought down six for you to see. And 
there's not a Minister who doesn't know of it by now — 
so you see it was not in vain." 

" It is the only way," said Mrs. Wilmot. " Not a 
saigle paper reported that important men's deputa- 
tion to the Home Secretary, remonstrating with the 
treatment of our women in prison; not a word concern- 
ing the monster petition for Women's Vote which hung 
in the lobby for members to laugh at. But there wasn't 
a paper without big headlines of ' Suffragettes drive 
to the House in Pantechnicon Van/ and ' Suffragettes 
chained to the railings in Downing Street.' " 

" And this last feat will be known in Australia by 
to-morrow morning," added Jack Wilmot. '* Now, 
please. Miss O'Neil, your news?" He turned to Mary. 

" Well, I'm going to snuff out Jenny and her parcels 
entirely — I bring great news," said Mary O'Neil. " The 
grille is gone I " 

"The grille is gone?" exclaimed Mrs. Wilmot. 

"Not the Ladies' Gallery grille?" asked Jack Wilmot 

" Yes I The wicked old grille— the women's cage 
— the iron bars, gone I" Mary's voice rang with 

"How? When?" asked Mrs. WiUnot. 

" Carried out on the backs of the Suffragettes,'* 


came the glad answer. " Two of the Freedom 
Leaguers I " 

" Hurrah for the Freedom Leaguers I" cried Jack. 

"On their backs?" questioned the older woman, 
whose life had been chiefly devoted to breaking down 
false barriers; " what on earth do you mean, my dear 

" You see, they chained and padlocked themselves 
to the grille," Mary explained. " At a suitable mo- 
ment, just when the Prime Minister was talking very 
big about Liberal principles, a voice called out from 
the Women's Cage : ' \^en is a Liberal Government 
going to give votes to women taxpayers?' Well, there 
was a shout of ' Turn them out ' from the Ministers' 
bench, and the Prime Minister looked really scared. 
Then another woman cried out ' Votes for Women,' and 
through the grille were pushed two banners, one of 
which floated in gentle benediction down on the 
Speaker's head/' 

" Good— excellent I " cried Jack Wilmot. 

" Yes, it was," Mary agreed; then her smile vanished 
as she added, " but I assure you it was rather a 
terrible scene, when policemen, stewards, and Members, 
all in a fury of indignation and rage, burst into the 
cage. I never saw such pluck as those women dis- 
played. The men dragged and pulled with all their 
might, but the chains held fast. I sang out 
' Votes for Women ' till a man put his horrid big 
hand over my mouth and dragged me out and pushed 
me down the stairs. I waited about and then slipped 
back just in time to see the first bit of the old grille 
coming out on a young girl's back. They had nearly 
pulled her wrists off first, but had to give it up and 
get blacksmiths and carpenters to unscrew the ironwork 
from its frame. Soon the others followed, and I was 
turned out together with all the women up there." 


Mrs. Wilmot had listened in absorbed silence. Now 
she spoke: "What a curious symbol I In this way 
alone can we open the cage doors and obtain freedom 
for women— by taking the burden of the iron bars upon 
our own backs I" 

The party under the pine trees all looked thoughtful 
— ^no one made answer, for in the mind of each one was 
conjured up a picture of what the future struggle 
might involve for women. 

A sound of carriage wheels broke the stillness. As 
they stopped before the house, Mrs. Wilmot observed 
confidentlyi *' We shall not be disturbed— I told Janet 
to admit no visitors." 

" Well, this visitor is admitting herself," said Jack. 
'* Gertrude Thistlethwaite, by all that's • . ." He was 
cut short by a high treble and a vision of pale blue 
chiffon and lace, crowned by an enormous hat of nod- 
ding white plumes. 

" I know you're not at home, dear Aunt Lydia. 
Your little maid did her level best to keep me out, but 
I saw this cosy little party from the road— your gorse 
hedge is not quite high enough, you see, and I insisted 
on invading you." 

The blue vision bore down upon the slight grey 
figure and enveloped her in an airy embrace, during 
which moment Mary O'Neil whispered to Jenny: 

" This is an Anti, and I'm not up to her to-day. 
I'm off to the Children's Hospital — I must see Nurse 
Dodds about a child I'm sending here to-morrow." 

Jenny gave her a reproachful look as she quickly 
disappeared behind the trees. The blue lady's high 
soprano continued volubly: 

" You know, we're only five miles off now Marma- 
duke's uncle has lent us the family mansion for week- 
ends. I'm not sure I'll shake hands with you, Jack," 
she gave him a small tightly-gloved left band as she 


spoke, " you're becoming quite too impossible with all 
your mad fads. Oh, I've heard nice tales about you, 

*' Let me give you this chair — then you can break it 
to me gently." He offered her a seat. 

" Will you begin with strawberries or tea, Ger- 
trude?" said her aunt. ''Let me introduce my little 
friend. Miss Clegg," she added, turning to Jenny^ " this 
is my niece. Lady Thistlethwaite." 

Raising her lorgnettes and without bowing, the new 
arrival continued: "Tea, please — no sugar." Then 
turned again to her cousin, laughing. *' Jack, come, 
what's the last thing? Own up — are you an Anarchist 
or a Christian Scientist or a Suffragette? You must 
drop Socialism now you are sporting a Berliet." 

" But I am permitted one as an Anarchist or a 
Christian Scientist? "he inquired, handing her some tea. 

" Oh yes," she laughed. " Anarchists always have 
a motor ready to take them away after flinging their 
bombs. I believe that's why you have one — ^and all 
Christian Scientists say they ought to be rich. Mrs. 
Eddy's teaching is that poverty is only an error of 
mortal mind. I think of joining the sect to see if my 
bills wilj get paid." 

*' Very clever old lady that I " observed Jack thought- 
fully. *' I don't wonder her churches are full. That's 
a religion will suit you down to the ground, I should 
say, Gertrude.'* 

" Don't you quarrel, you two," said Mrs. Wilmot, 
"How is Marmaduke, Gertrude?" 

" Marmaduke? Perfectly odious, as usual. Says 
he has the gout and is off next week to Carlsbad with 
that other old crock. Lord Ogleham. I don't complain, 
it suits me nicely." She took up a large banner and 
began unfurling it. " Goodness me I Joan of Arc, is 
it? Not one of your Suffragette things?" 

AT THE week-end COTTAGE 159 

An almost imperceptible shade of annoyance passed 
over the older woman's face as she answered gently, 
" Yes, it's Jeanne d'Arc, our patron saint." She knew 
well what was coming, and was weary of the monoto- 
nous reiteration, 

*' Well, it baffles me how a good woman like you, 
Aunt Lydia, with a home for invalid children, visiting 
prisons and sitting on vestries and boards and things, 
can throw in your lot with these awful women. I 
should as soon expect it of Agatha Thistlethwaite.. Jack 
is crazy — ^nothing he does surprises me— but yoa . . .** 

" Thank you, fair cousin." Jack bowed, with his 
hand on his heart. 

" No, but you, Aunt Lydia," she returned to the 
charge. " And after that splendid article of Selina 
Crompton's the other day in The Times. Did you 
see it?*' 

" Oh yes, I saw it," replied her aunt quietly. 

" Well, you see she proves by statistics that women 
do not want the vote— that is, only a mere handful of 
crazy, hysterical creatures who are making this clamour, 
just for self-advertisement. She shows how utterly the 
Women's Suffrage has failed wherever it has been 
tried— in New Zealand^ Americai Australia, and every- 

" She says it— she doesn't show it, my dear Ger- 
trude " — Mrs. Wilmot saw she was in for it, and 
reluctantly buckled to — " not quite the same thing, as 
Mrs. Juliet Howard proved by her masterly reply, 
which, of course, you did not see, though it also was 
in The Times. But why should we discuss the matter? 
We don't agree, and time will prove which of us is 
right as to women wanting the vote." 

" Well, you won't get it if I can help it," said her 
niece with asperity, " and our Anti-League is pretty 
strong, I assure you. Look ^t our monster petition 


against you I" she added, her faded prettiness vanish- 
ing as if an east wind nipped it. 

•• But we don't force you to vote/* said the elder 
woman wearily. " Why can't you leave us alone? 
Why this vindictive attitude?" 

" Because I regard it as the greatest misfortune that 
could happen to women as a whole/* said Lady Thistle- 
thwaite, with a comprehensive wave of her narrow 
pointed hand. " It would be the death of chivalry, no 
one can deny that I If women encroach on men's 
rights and try and make out they are men's equals, 
you can't expect men to go on showing them the con- 
sideration and politeness that they show to the true 
womanly woman who looks up to them and acknow- 
ledges they are the superiors. It will be the death of 
chivalry." She made sure of the masculine support 
of her cousin, but he laughed the discomforting laugh 
of the scoffer: 

" The sort of chivalry Bill Sikes and his class have 
always lavished on their women-kind, eh, Gertrude? 
Excuse my smiling I" 

Lady Thistlethwaite tossed her head and lifted her 
nose, as she answered, " Really, I jcnow nothing of your 
friend Mr. Bill Sikes and his class, and I have no 
wish to — I am talking of gentlemen.*^ 

*' You see," he said, " unfortunately, truly chivalrous 
gentlemen of any class are somewhat in a minority, and 
your sort of diivalry and your sort of gentlemen 
don't come into this show at all. This is a working 
women's movement-^this one of ours — of the women 
who would be enfranchised eighty-two per cent are 
earning their own living— isn't that so. Miss Clegg?" 

Jenny had followed the discussion with earnest, 
anxious eyes, bent first on one and then the other 

" Yes, that's it," she answered simply. Lady Thistle- 

AT THE week-end COTTAGE l6i 

thwaite raised her lorgnettes again, as though to inquire 
who had the effrontery to speak. " We working 
women, you see — ^we need it for our homes, our chil- 
dren, our work^it is an economic question, this one 
of our vote." 

'^ How ridiculous I " snorted Lady Thistlethwaite. She 
turned to her aunt. " If anybody ought to have a 
vote it is women like mentor I have at least a pro- 
perty of my own and a stake in the country apart from 

" Oh, you and all classes will benefit," interrupted 
her cousin, " but it is not for you propertied, fortune- 
favoured ladies that women are toiling and suffering 
imprisonment, giving their hard-earned savings, their 
brains, their very lives— don't imagine it." He took 
out a cigarette-case. " May I offer you the cigarette 
of peace?" He laughed good-humouredly. 

" Well, I don't want the vote, thank you— I can get 
on very well without it." She took the cigarette as 
she spoke. " But I can't get on without men's nice 
little chivalrous attentions — there now I" She smiled in 
his eyes and lit her cigarette from his. 

" Well, if your mankind are going to leave off 
opening doors and shutting windows for you, or offer- 
ing you a cigarette," he laughed, " because you have 
the right to register a vote once in five or six years, 
I think they'll be the losers rather than you." 

She blew a fine blue cloud through her nose : 

" Now, Jack, you don't suppose I am such a simple- 
ton as to believe they only want a vote, these crea- 
tures I You know, and Aunt Lydia can't deny it, this 
is only the thin end of the wedge— they'll never rest till 
they are in Parliament— who knows, in the Cabinet. 
Mr. Blatherton and Mr. Boulder both say they're bound 
to push in there, and they ought to know, being there 
themselves and up to all the tricks." 


"I'd like your Cabinet friends to hear you/' laughed 

Her aunt smiled. 

*• But, my dear Gertrude," she said, ** do you realise 
that if such a thing did happen it would be the men's 
doing and not the women's? It would be because men 
judged some particular woman to be their fittest rep- 
resentative? For if we obtain the suffrage on the same 
basis as men, which is all we ask or want, only one 
million and a quarter women would be enfranchised as 
against seven million and a half men.'* • 

Lady Thistlethwaite shook her white feathers. 

" Oh, you don't take me in by that argument. Aunt 
Lydia. Miss Crompton unmasks that fallacy. As she 
showed at our meeting at the Duchess of Stilton's, the 
thing we shall have upon us very shortly will be adult 
suffrage, and as there are certainly a million more 
women in England than men, before we can look round 
we shall be under petticoat government. How'd you like 
that, Master Jack?" She turned on him triumphantly. 

"Awful prospect I Well, do you know, Gertrude, 
I'd rather like to see how the mothers of the nation 
would work things for a bit — the fathers have made 
such a jolly old hash of it all round — I believe they'd 
come out on top." 

Jenny gave him a quick glance of approval and mur- 
mured audibly: "Hear, hear I" 

For an instant Lady Thistlethwaite gazed blankly 
just over Jenny's head, then she turned to her cousin: 

" Well, on your own showing, Jack, there are many 
more women of the washerwoman's and the char- 
woman's class than those of your mother's. So it 
wouldn't be your mother whose rule you'd be under, 
it would be your washerwoman, and the drunken old 

char and " — she threw her glance on Jenny 

— ** and all those lower orders." 

AT THE week-end COTTAGE 163 

Jack Wilmot bit bis lip witb annoyance. '* You've 
strange ideas of what is 'low/*' he answered her; 
" the women who work at least stand firm on their own 
feet — a more dignified attitude than that of many girls 
of the self-styled upper classes.*' 

But Gertrude had had enough; it had ceased to be 
amusing. She rose. 

•* Well, I wish you joy of your motherly washer- 
women Government, Jack, but I devoutly hope a 
spacious lunatic asylum will accommodate all the men 
of your persuasion before such calamities overtake our 
poor old England, and your voting woman has de- 
stroyed the home." 

Mrs. Wilmot rose with her guest, detaining her a 

" I think, do you know, Gertrude, it might interest 
you to read up in the Blue Books — what, of course, you 
are much too young to remember — the heated debates 
and objections raised twenty-seven years ago, when 
we were fighting for the Married Women's Property 
Act. You don't think that a bad thing now, do you?" 

" That I should have my own property indepen- 
dent of Marmaduke, you mean?" she laughed shortly. 
" I shouldn't have a decent gown to my back, if I 
didn't, that's certain." 

" Yes, and that your washerwoman and dressmaker 
should have the right to their own earnings, even if 
they happen to be married," insisted her aunt gently. 

"Well, of course I The men passed that Bill because 
it was right and just. I should think that ought to 
prove to you women that you can leave politics in the 
hands of men. They passed a law dead against their 
own interest, you seel" 

" Oh no, they didn't, my dear," replied her aunt. 
" You can't divide the interests of men and women, 
they are interwoven, and you see wise men came to 


realise, after an awful battle of some twenty years, 
during which time we had left no stone unturned to 
make good our case, that when the mother suffered, 
the sons and daughters suffered with her— sons as 
much as daughters. But I'd like you to read some 
of the prophecies of the Anti*s of those days. One 
seems to be living that time over again. ' The Bill 
would destroy all chance of happy relations between 
husband and wife ' — * the Bill was an insult to men — 
the Bill struck at the root of the marriage idea, namely, 
the wife's dependence on her husband ' — ' it would 
certainly be the death-blow to chivalry ' — the very same 
words you are using now, you see." 

" Oh well, my dear Aunt, you don't change my 
opinion, and that is that women had better leave politics 
to men I Really, I must go." 

"Capitall" said Jack, handing her the slim blue 
parasol, which looked like a replica of herself. 
'^ Specially from a leading Liberal and once upon a 
time ' Primrose Dame.' I wonder if the ' Kissing 
Duchess ' would have endorsed your sentiments, Ger- 
trude," he added teasingly. 

Lady Thistlethwaite bore it well. Duchesses of any 
sort appealed to her. 

" I think associating with motherly washerwomen 
and Bill Sikeses has made you exceedingly vulgar, 
Mr. Jack," she laughed. " Really, I must be going. 
Bye the bye, we've got the Blathertons and the Horace 
Boulders— quite a crowd of Cabinet Ministers and their 
women-folk, coming to-morrow for the week-end. 
We shall be quite a distinguished pew full in church on 
Sunday — I always make my guests patronise morning 
service. How they'll roar when I tell them of the 
Joan of Arc banner and our fight. I feel like Joan 
of Arc myself, fighting for my country and the poor 
downtrodden men." The thought of what good 




material she had gathered restored her spirits com- 
pletely as she made ready to go. 

" It is awfully good of you, and in the name of my 
sex I ought to thank you for so valiantly battling for 
us and turning traitor to your own/* said Jack Wilmot, 

" Oh» I'm not battling for yoa, sir— I'd put you in 
an idiot asylum and so would others of your own sex, 
let me tell you." 

" Oh, please let it be a mad-house at least— raving 
mad, if you like," pleaded Jack. 

" All right, Bedlam then. Meanwhile, would you see 
if my coachman is back? I sent him to the post office 
—you'll be interested to hear he is ^ Suffragette— a 
fellow-lunatic. He actually told me the other day he 
* 'oped as the women would win through.' " 

"And what did you say to that?" asked her aunt. 

" Told him not to be a fool — unless he wanted to 
have his wife riding rough-shod over him. He said she 
did that already, though she, like a sensible woman, 
loathes the Suffragettes, and says she has a basket of 
rotten eggs ready for the first one who comes her way." 

" The moral of that tale being obvious, I won't rub 
it in. I'll see about your carriage," remarked Jack, 
going off in search of the Suffragette coachman. 

" The working-men are all rallying round us," Jenny 
observed to her hostess, as they sat down again under 
the pines to await the carriage. 

" They see it will make things better for their girls 
— and their widows," said Mrs. Wilmot. 

" Remarkably philanthropic to think of their .widows I 
Well, you haven't got the Labour Members with you. 
I was talking to quite one of their best specimens the 
other day, and he was dead against Women's Suffrage," 
remarked Lady Thistlethwaite conclusively. 

"What a pity," Jenny remarked thoughtfully: "I 
think the best of them are with us though." 


" This was one of the best of them " — Lady Thistle- 
thwaite turned to her aunt — " Joseph Hopton— * 'Opton/ 
he calls himself — quite a self-made man. A friend of 
Mr. Blatherton's is bringing him over to lunch to- 

'* Ah^ he's a genuine honest man^ Jack knows him 
well. He has quite a following up in the North." 

" Your carriage is just in sight, Gertrude — coming 
up the hill/' announced Jack Wilmot, returning from 
his quest. 

*• Joe H opt on comes from my home," observed 
Jenny, aside, to her hostess. " They always said he'd 
get on, once he got elected." 

Again Lady Thistlethwaite rose to go, then paused: 
" By the way. Aunt Lydia, can you tell me of any 
housemaids among your proiigies* Poor Lady Walker 
was in despair when I lunched with them yesterday in 
Town. Four of her servants left at a moment's notice. 
She has a German housekeeper which accounts for it, 
no doubt. She hates those registry offices — but I 
thought of you and your protigieshAt would be a real 
charity to help her.'^ 

Mrs. Wilmot shook her head: 

" No, my dear, I don't know of any housemaid suit- 
able for a big London house in the season — ^my ' pro- 
tdgdes ' are usually very modest little ' tweenies.' " 

Jenny looked up quickly. *' A housemaid, did you 
say? Yes, I think I know of a girl — a very good 
housemaid — a friend of mine. Shall I inquire if she's 

" Do, please," Lady Thistlethwaite answered lan- 
guidly. " Get two if possible. Often two friends like 
to go together, don*t you know." 

" I will tell my friend to write to you and give her 
references." So saying Jenny gathered up various 
letters and papers, begging Mrs. Wilmot to excuse her 


as there were notices to send off by the evenmg's post 
to Scotland. Bowing with quiet dignity to Lady 
Thistlethwaite, she went quickly into the house. 

" And where on earth, if it's not rude to ask, did you 
pick up that very prononcie young person, my dear 
Aunt Lydia? Is she your last specimen of the Militant 
Suffragette or the New Woman?" inquired Lady 
Thistlethwaite with a laugh. 

" My little Jenny? Oh, she's a splendid girl," said 
Mrs. Wilmot. " I wish I could multiply her into a 
thousand such New Women, for the revivifying and 
purifying of the race I" 

"How like you. Aunt Lydia. Oh, the poor race I 
You'll be marrying her to Jack for the purpose of 
propagating the species, I suppose." 

" Her ladyship's carriage," announced the maid. 

" Well, good-bye, come and see us soon." The blue 
stalk crowned with white plumes swayed gracefully 
across the lawn. " Bye-bye, Jack, you may motor over 
to lunch to-morrow, if you are not afraid to meet two 
of your arch-enemies, Mr. Blatherton and Mr. Boulder." 

" No thanks," replied Jack. " I only meet them in 
the arena. I should feel like a fish out of water in 
your crowd— besides, I shall have a heap of work to 
get through to-morrow." 

" Work with the New Woman, I suppose?" 

He made no answer, but followed her to the gate^ 
where again she turned. 

" Oh, by the way, I had nearly forgotten what J 
came for. Aunt Lydia," she called back, " can you 
send me some flowers and things in pots for my stall 
next week at the Albert Hall? I've been let in for 
the flower-stall by the Duchess of Wickleham. Good 
works, you know — ought to appeal to you." 

Mrs. Wilmot rose and came forward. 

" Well, the flowers here are mostly bespoken for my 


own good works. But perhaps there are some ' things 
in pots ' we could spare. You can come round and see> 
if you like.*' They disappeared together into a small 

" Well^ upon my soull " said Jack to the pines^ as he 
threw himself down once more under the trees. " The 
coolness of the critturl It is simply staggering." He 
yawned and then went on: ** She has a dozen 
hot-houses with 'things in pots/ and we have one I 
David with Uriah's pet lamb is a playful joke com- 
pared to her. • . •" 

" Were you rehearsing a speech? Shall I disturb 
you?" asked a voice at his side. He looked up and 
smiled gladly to see Jenny had come back to her 
banner, and was regarding him with a look of quiet 

"Disturb me? Rather not I" he answered heartily. 
" I was rehearsing a speech it's unfortunately too late 
to make." He raised himself with sudden energy. 
" That cousin of mine really makes my blood 
boil. . . ." 

" She has got the fabric warped— her ideas have 
grown a bit crooked from the life she's had to lead, I 
expect," said Jenny gently, 

" She was most confoundedly rude and ill-bred to 
you," he answered hotly. " I felt heartily ashamed of 

" I didn't feel it that way," Jenny answered simply. 
" Please don't mind." 

" But I do mind," he continued, " mind intensely— 
that you — you whose shoes she is not worthy to 
brush " 

" Oh, now you'll make me laugh," Jenny inter- 
rupted. " I can't tell you how glad I am to have met 
that lady — she is going to be a wonderful help to the 
Cause, I hope." 


'' Well, you have a hopeful disposition/' said Jack 
Wilmot with a laugh. 

** Not intentionally, I don't mean," Jenny corrected, 
'* but she's given me a good idea." 

" What is that? Anything I can help in?" he asked 

She shook her head as she sorted out her silks. 
'* Better you shouldn't know till it's done, I think, 
thank you, Mr. Wilmot. But I believe you'll like it." 

Jack rose and stood near her, looking down on the 
glossy brown head bent over the Jeanne d'Arc banner. 

" I know I shall," he said; then after a pause: " I 
want you to give me the right to help you in every- 
thing " — ^he spoke in low, earnest tones quite new to 
Jenny — " to help you, and all women for your sake. 
I hope you know that, little Jenny— do you?" 

" Oh yes, I know you feel just like we do about 
the Cause," Jenny answered, feeling vaguely embar- 
rassed by the suddenness of her Christian name. " It's 
splendid having men help us like you do," she added, 
looking up to assure herself all was as usual. But the 
look in his eyes puzzled and troubled her. 

" I do care for your Cause— but, Jenny, look here " 
—he laid his hand on hers very gently—" I want you 
to know it, for I can't bear being a humbug— dear as 
the cause of all women is to me, there is one little girl 
who is dearer than any cause — yourself, my sweet little 

Jenny withdrew her hand and answered simply and 
sincerely, " I am right sorry to hear it, Mr. Wilmot." 

He took a seat beside her and leaned forward, try- 
ing to meet her eyes. 

" Don't turn away from me, Jenny, please hear me. 
I know this isn't the time to speak, and I'm content 
to wait — to wait just as long as you say I must. But 
there it is — I love you, love you with all my soul. I 


used to laugh at love. Do you know, Td never cared 
seriously for any woman before I met you, Jenny? I 
know fellows always say this, but it's true, I swear, in 
my case — you've awakened something I didn't know I 
had--my soul, I suppose it is---but I know I can't 
do without you now. With you, I believe I might arrive 
at doing something worth while. Have you never 
guessed what you've come to mean to me?" he asked 
almost reproachfully. 

Jenny turned her truthful brown eyes full on him. 

*' Never I— not likely I should. No, indeed 1 I'm 
very sorry if it is really true," she added gently, with 
just a touch of incredulity, " but it would never do, 
oh, never. However could you think of such a 

" Why, I've thought of little else ever since I met 
you." He looked at her with a whimsical smile. Her 
perfect simplicity and honesty enchanted him. 

" Dear, dear, what a pity to be wasting your time 
like that," Jenny replied sincerely, " and you so clever 
and sensible I" 

He winced as though she had applied pincers to 

" Oh, don't call me such horrid names I" 

"I'd never call you horrid names, I only mean " 

She laughed and hesitated. 

He caught gladly at the laugh: "I've taken you by 
surprise — don't let's settle anything yet." 

" I reckon you have, indeed — but I won't think any- 
thing more about it," she added, offering a happy solu- 
tion of the difficulty. 

He looked at her, realising hopelessly he was not 
making way. 

" Oh, but, Jenny, please don't say that. I want 
you to think about it all the time— that is," he corrected 
himself as he watched the busy brown fingers, " in 


the off moments when you are not working for the 
vote I I know you are very busy next week, but you 
might get a spare hour to-morrow or Sunday." She 
smiled, and he added hopefully, " This evening? Do 
you realise " — he seized one small brown hand im« 
petuously— •• how much I care, little girl?" 

Jenny left her hand a moment in his before with* 
drawing it, as she said pleadingly, '* Please^ Mr. Wil- 
mot, don't let us talk about it." 

" Not talk about itl " cried Jack Wilmot impatiently, 
" why, it's just the one and only thing I want to talk 

" Then," said Jenny, with quiet dignity, in the soft 
Lancashire accent which she of set purpose accentu- 
ated, " I reckon you must talk to some young lady 
of your own station, who'll be pleased and proud to 
listen. I'm a working girl— my world is not yoursi 
and we should both make a grievous mistake if either 
of us was to quit the station Providence has put us in." 

" But you've had to quit it," he remonstrated. 
" Providence has evidently intended you to do so." 

" To leave the mill, yes," Jenny agreed, " but not 
my own people or my own class. I am one with them 
— I belong to them and they belong to me. I suffer 
with them — I feel as they do, Mr. Wilmot, not as 
you do." 

" But so do I," he urged, " I feel with them and 
you—with the workers, with the plain simple people. 
I belong to you, not to the Thistlethwaites and Blather- 
tons, I assure you." 

" No, not to them perhaps, because they are not 
leading true lives, nor wouldn't in any class — they're 
living for self and working for self, and worse, sacrific- 
ing many of their fellow-men and women for self. 
We've got that kind among us just the same as you 
have," she continued, as her thoughts flew off to Sam 


and poor Liz, " but, of course, their power is more 
limited. That don't make you belong to us, Mr. 
Wilmot." She turned her brown eyes full on his ardent 
blue ones and repeated earnestly, " You can't do it, 
not if you try ever so." 

*' Oh yes, I can, and I will — you give me a trial," 
he urged. 

Jenny shook her head sadly. She liked him; he 
was much younger than she had thought; she hated 
giving him pain. 

" You'd have to begin from your cradle," she ex- 
plained, *' fed on our food, speaking our speech — 
trained in the mill — beginnin' as a half-timer at eight 
year old, rising at five o'clock o' the cold winter's morn, 
and hurryin' out in the dark through the snow, fearin' 
to hear the clock strike six 'fore you get to mill." 

He followed her every word with his quick sym- 
pathy and artist's ready imagination: " I can picture 
it," he assured her, "it is not necessary to have lived 
through it." 

" Oh yes, it is," said Jenny. " It's only what we've 
lived through as we can feel — that's what shapes our 
thoughts and shapes our souls. You must work in your 
class, God knows you're needed there, and I must 
work in mine." 

" But we are fighting in the same army — under the 
same banner, little Jenny — for the same goal." 

" Aye, but in different regiments, with different work 
and different weapons and different training. Marriage 
is difficult enough with everything to help it run smooth, 
but when you've got to unmake one o' them to start 
fresh after the other's pattern, why, can't you see it ud 
be a constant strain, a gulf as couldn*t be bridged 

"Oh, not if the one loved as I love you. Love bridges 
over the widest gulf as easily as our hands meet over 


this little table." He leaned forward, quickly seizing 
both her hands in his and raising them to his lips. 

Neither he nor Jenny had noticed the maid ap- 
proaching from the house, followed by a visitor. Her 
voice was the first intimation as she announced with 
considerate distinctness before approaching the trees: 
" A gentleman to see you, sir— Mr. 'Opton, his name 

" Pardon my troubling you, Mr. Wilmot, but as 
I was close by I thought it ud save time my bringing 
the papers myself." The visitor came forward to meet 
Jack Wilmot, who had started to his feet. As the men 
shook hands Joe caught sight of the face of the girl at 
work under the trees. " Jenny I" he exclaimed under 
his breath. 

" Quite right," Jack was saying, " I'll look at them 
now." He took the papers from his visitor. 

Jenny stood up and held out her hand. " How do 
you do," she said shyly. " It's a long time since we 

Jack Wilmot looked from one to the other. 

"Oh, do you know each other?" he asked in sur- 

Joe answered with stiff formality: "Yes, me and 
Miss Clegg used to be acquainted in Greyston." 

" Oh, really I " Jack Wilmot answered easily. " Well; 
won't you sit down and have a talk while I go indoors 
and look through these papers a moment?" 

As he disappeared into the house, Joe took the 
vacated seat near Jenny. 

" You've changed since we've parted a year ago, 
Jenny," he began, after a slight pause. 

" A year does make a difference," Jenny answered 
cheerfully; " you've done a good bit and changed too, 
I think— got into Parliament too as Peter always pro- 
phesied for you." 


" Changed I Not me." He repudiated the very idea. 
" I'm not one for changing-— but you^ve turned into 
quite the young lady, an* a public speaker an' all." 

Jenny looked at him wistfully for a brief instant 
before she replied: 

" You're laughing at me, Joe. I only speak just the 
same as all the others who are helpin' the Cause. I am 
changed in some ways though. I've learnt many things 
this past year — being in prison teaches you a lot. I'm 
glad, oh, so glad, to 'ave been a jail-bird, they are the 
only birds that can sing the song of freedom. It takes 
a lot out o' you," she went on, as he did not answer — 
"a lot you need to get rid of—and puts a lot into you 
— patience, humility, and pity — pity that tears the heart 
out of you to see the poor sad faces of the women, the 
old ones and young ones alike, so crushed and despair- 

" Maybe— -maybe, "he interrupted impatiently. "Well, 
I little thought the young lady makin* love under these 
trees when I came here was Jenny Clegg. ... I 
hadn't heard you was engaged to be married, you see." 
He looked at her searchingly. 

Jenny kept her eyes fixed on Jeanne d'Arc as she 
answered: "Who said I was engaged to be married, 

"Who said?" Joe's tone was not calculated to re- 
assure her. " Well, it didn't need any saying, did it?" 

" I don't know what you mean, Joe." The soft 
evasive voice maddened him suddenly. 

" You don't know what I mean," he replied fiercely 
and seized her wrist. " Oh yes, you do. Is that swell 
chap going to wed you? Answer me that — yes or 

" Joe, you're hurting my hand." She tried to free 
herself. This was a different grip from that of Jack 
Wilmot. " Do let go, please. No, he is not going 


to wed me/' she protested vehemently; *' whatever put 
such a silly idea into your head?" 

Joe flung her hand from him and stood up in front 
of her, his whole aspect threatening and lowering. 

" Jenny, if that man don't promise me to wed you 
off-hand, I'll brain him before he's a day older," he 
ground out slowly. 

Jenny's wrist bore, a red, angry mark. She answered 
proudly 2 

'* But I don't want to wed him — or anyone else, 
thank you. I've other things to see to." And she 
took up her needle. 

" Other things to see to?" Joe regarded Jeanne 
d'Arc with lofty contempt. " Then what the deuce are 
you carrying on with 'im for?" he questioned fiercely. 
" Didn't I see you let 'im kiss your hands?" He bent 
over her, compelling her to lift her eyes to his. 
" Didn't I 'ear 'im say as love cud bridge over all 
gulfs, or some such tommy rot? I defy you to deny it." 

Jenny met his gaze steadily, defiantly. 

" I don't see as you've any right to be talkin' to 
me like this, Joe. I know you mean well, but you 
don't understand." She gave an impatient sigh and 
felt he would never understand her, or perhaps any 
woman, this Joe who, in spite of all, was the only man 
in the world for her. 

" No, I don't understand — you women can always 
talk — talk your own heads off. Well, talk in your own 
homes, then, but don't spout in public." 

She was thankful to have side-tracked him and his 
grievance for the moment. 

" We have to talk in public sometimes — but it isn't 
all talk, Joe " — ^her tone was conciliatory — " it's deeds 
too. I've been a jail-bird and shall be, no doubt, again." 
Then, with feminine inconsistency, she added, recalling 
him to the former charge, " Quite disqualified, you see. 


from bein' wife to such as you I though there are men 
who hold wider views concemin' women, Tm glad to 
say. . . ." 

He responded like a violin to the master's hand, 
grinding his teeth and muttering savagely. And Jenny 
continued tauntingly: 

" You seem to forget as we've each chosen our own 
road, and that they be wide apart." 

Joe turned to her with sudden gentleness: 

" Jenny, if they're wide apart, it's of your own 
making, not mine. I gave you your free choice." 

It was true, and she had not hesitated. Again the 
choice was before her, but the conditions still impossible. 

" Yes, I know you did, but we've no choice really in 
such cases, Joe," she answered. " ' We needs must 
choose the highest when we see it,' as Miss O'Neil said 
in her speech the other day." 

He missed her meaning. And now, instead of a 
mere hedge of easily bridged thorn, a gulf separated 
them--a gulf of misunderstanding— and Joe's relenting 
mood was dissipated like smoke. 

"The highest, indeed I Let me tell you, I consider 
myself every bit as ' high ' as yon lawyer chap, with 
his University edjakation and Piccerdilly Clubs— high- 
est, indeed I '^ 

" Oh, Joe, not that kind of highest— not Mr. Wilmot 
at all. I told you you didn't understand I" Jenny's 
tone was pretty hopeless now, yet she knew the im- 
passable gulf was of her own making. 

" No, nor want to neither," said Joe shortly. 

" But I wasn't thinking of Mr. Wilmot when I said 
we must choose the highest " — she could not let him 
leave her like that — " I meant what we see is our duty 
— our highest duty. My path was plainly marked out 
for me." 

" To go with these crazy women?" He laughed un- 


pleasantly. " Nice kind o* path I Well, I wish you 
joy of it." 

" Oh, your path is no doubt pleasanter/' Jenny 
answered bitterly. ** It has led you to honour and 
a high place among the great folks and Cabinet Min- 
isters—mine has led me to disgrace behind prison 
bars, and will again before long. But perhaps a 
day's coming when we*ll carry the bars off on our 
backs, like the women to-day carried off the grille.'* 

She rose and folded up the banner as she spoke. 
In the distance she saw Mrs. Wilmot and Miss O'Neil 
coming from the Cottage Hospital. They called to her, 
not noticing the man with her under the shadow of 
the trees. 

" Jenny, where are you? Jenny, come and help us 
pick flowers to send to the London children?" 

She called in reply: "Yes, Mrs. Wilmot, I'm com- 
ing at once. Well, good-bye, Joe, I wish you good 
luck along your path." She half offered her hand, 
but Joe refused to see it as he turned from her 
gloomily, replying with a short '* Good-bye 1" 

For a moment Jenny looked at him as though she 
would speak, then with a short, sharp sigh she turned 
and walked quickly down the garden- path to join Mrs. 
Wilmot. Joe looked after her, clenching his teeth. 

" Fine folks and Cabinet Ministers — that's my path, 
is it? Well, I'll not go to-morrow to Middleham Court 
—that's all about it— and she'll 'ave 'erself to thank if 
the Labour Cause suffers, and working women along 
with the men." 

Jack Wilmot came out of the house with the papers. 
" Here they are — you'll have to sign again here, you 
see?"— he looked round— " Miss Clegg gone?'* 

" Oh yes," replied Joe with a short laugh. " She 
didn't have much time to waste on a plain working- 
man, you see.*' 



Jack looked surprised, but said nothing. 

'* Sign here?— I see— thank you. Good evening. I 
must catch that train to Town.*' 

Joe pocketed the papers and hurried off without 
seeming to notice Jack Wilmot*s proffered hand. 

•* Well, that's rum," said Jack, watching his retreat- 
ing figure with a puzzled frown. ** Was ever anything 
more contradictorious? Women are queer folkl" 


It was Sunday morning. The bells of the old village 
church of Middleham were ringing for morning service. 
The congregation loitered in the peaceful churchyard 
and round the old porch, in no hurry to leave the 
pleasant sunshine for the dim aisles. 

Under the shade of an ancient yew tree overhanging 
the porch, Jenny and two of the Union Sisterhood stood 
watching the people pass into church. They had 
walked nearly five miles that morning, and the sun 
had beat upon the dusty white road mercilessly. But 
the three young women tramping steadily on had felt 
neither dust nor heat, so absorbed were they, by the 
purpose in their hearts. 

Jenny had told them of the rare opportunity which 
offered for catching three Cabinet Ministers off their 
guard, and presenting the eternal Petitions-justice for 

Nurse Dodds, of Mrs. Wilmot's Children's HomCi 
had eagerly jumped at the chance^ as had also her 
friend Hilda Smith, spending a few days with her. 
The latter, a clever young school teacher, had been 
dismissed from her post on account of her too-openly- 
avowed sympathy with the Woman's Movement. The 
wrongs of her sex had been brought home to her with 
peculiar force in her own profession, where she found 
precisely the same work received such different pay; 



the boy pupil-teacher getting eight shillings to her own 
five, the schoolmaster, three hundred to her one, yet 
the qualifications and the hours of labour being identi- 
cal. Finally, the decision to deprive the woman of her 
hard-earned post altogether, should she see fit to marry, 
had made of Hilda Smith not only a convinced Suffra- 
gist, but a militant Suffragette. 

The last bell began to toll its five minutes' warning — 
" Hurry up— hurry in, good people all.*' 

The old sexton peered out from the dark entrance, 
blinking at the outside sunshine like an old owl from 
his nest. He caught sight of the three young women. 
" They must be gathered into the fold," said he to 
himself—" their clothes are gay, youth is giddy, who 
knows but I might be snatching a brand from the 
burning!" He issued forth and made for the yew 

"Ain't you young ladies a-coomin' in?" he asked 
persuasively, yet with a certain authority as became his 
official capacity. " I'll find you places— we've got a 
fine preacher takin' dooty for the Vicar this momin' — 
don't often 'ear sich a preacher, they say— makes yer sit 
oop — 'e do." 

Nurse Dodds looked infinitely amused as she nodded 
pleasantly at the old man and said, " All right, thank 
you, we'll come in presently." 

Jenny, noting his disappointed air, explained they 
were resting after a long walk, but would be sure 
to come in for the service. He departed, determined 
to keep an eye on them and see they did not escape 

" I feel so nervous," said Jenny, " I wish we hadn't 
to do it— that we could just go in and enjoy the sweet 
peace of this little church and not think of anything 

Hilda Smith looked at her in surprise; 


•* You nervous? You, Jenny? Why, you are always 
our strength and stay — our steadfast little rock," 

*' Not much rock about me/* smiled Jenny faintly, 
••I'm always terribly nervous if IVe anything pre- 
meditated to do. It*s only remembering the Cause ever 
carries me through.** 

•• Well, I'm not like you,** said her friend. •* These 
Ministers never scare me. Lor', my dear, come to that 
they're only men, after all— and I don*t mind betting 
you they're far more scared of us than we are of them.*' 
But with her bright red-gold hair and fresh jpink 
cheeks Hilda Smith did not look very awe-inspiring. 

** Well, haven *t they shown it,** said Nurse Dodds. 
•'Cowards the whole bench of them — conscience- 
stricken I" she added, her kindly face taking on a 
severe expression. 

** We must try and sit where they can see the purple, 
white, and green, during the service," said Hilda Smith, 
•• then their consciences will have time to gnaw them 
a bit before we speak to them." 

•• I doubt if any of them know the colours," said 
Nurse Dodds. 

•• Mr. Weii; Kemp at least does, for I told him myself 
not long ago,*' said Hilda. •* He won*t forget— he said 
we'd good taste." 

•• Oh, Weir Kemp, he^s a false friend,** said Nurse 
Dodds bitterly; '• Td like to give him a bit of my mind 
before the whole congregation.** 

*• We must do nothing till after the service though,'* 
warned Jenny — ** we must catch them as they come 
out. Oh, if only they knew what the vote means to 
us women I** she added, with a profound sigh. 

"They do know I'* said Nurse Dodds vehemently, 
" they know only too well. Oh, it maddens me to think 
of all this power, for good or ill to the women and 
children of the nation, being in the hands of a handful 


of men. Positively here's the House of Commons with 
us, and yet these two or three men have the power to 
block our Bill." 

•* Never mind/* said Jenny soothingly — *' justice and 
right must triumph in the end. Three or four men 
who've got the stiff neck can't hold out for ever." 

The bell clanged out its last, very last strokes. The 
old sexton hurried up to them : 

** Come, my dears — time you were steppin' in now, 
if you want me to find you good places," he urged. 

Jenny looked round anxiously as they followed the 
old man into the church. Supposing the party from 
the Abbey were not coming after all I 

The old sexton led them up the nave, and showed 
them into a front pew facing the altar, and at right 
angles with the chancel pews. 

" See," he whispered, " you may sit 'ere, as Farmer 
Jones and 'is family is away from 'ome — you can see 
all the fine folks in the chancel nicely 'ere." 

" Yes, and they can see us," observed Hilda Smith 
with satisfaction. 

Many rustic eyes gazed admiringly at the three 
young women in their fresh cotton dresses — Jenny in 
lilac, Hilda in green, and Nurse Dodds in her white 
hospital uniform, all with conspicuous badges of the 
Union colours, bearing the device, " Votes for Women," 
so that he who ran might read. 

The bell ceased to clang. The organ struck up a 
processional hymn and slowly the village choir marched 
round the church, followed by the curate and the 
famous preacher, taking duty for the old vicar whose 
comfortable drone usually acted as a soporific on all 
bis hearers. As the two parsons passed into their 
seats in the chancel, Nurse Dodds whispered to 
Jenny : 

"Why, that is Father Petre from ShoreditchI I 


nursed him last winter through double pneumonia — 
he came out all right before Td done with him I" 

" Out of the pneumonia?*' asked Hilda Smith. 

" Yes, and out of his prejudices — he*s with us women 
now, heart and soul — sees ours is the bnly way." 


At the sign of triumph 1 Satan's host doth flee^" 

shouted the village choir, and the three Suffragettes 
joined in heartily. 

" He has recognised you," whispered Jenny, as she 
saw the deep-set dark eyes of Father Petre suddenly 
gleam with a kindly twinkle as they rested on Nurse 

At that moment a rustle of turning heads and shoul- 
ders passed through the church like a breeze, and the 
party from the Abbey entered like conquering heroes, 
and marched in slow procession to ** the seats of the 

Lady Thistlethwaite, in pearl grey, led the way with 
the Right Honourable Horace Boulder. Lord Ogle- 
ham followed with pretty little Mrs. Blatherton, smiling 
from side to side as though acknowledging the homage 
due to her last Paris creation and herself. In their wake 
came the conmianding figure of the noted writer and 
lecturer, Mrs. Prendergast, accompanied by a spare, 
nervous-looking man in spectacles, whose face was as 
familiar to the public as that of his confrire who had 
preceded him. Mrs. Boulder and a small boy in 
sailor-suit, gentle grey-haired Miss Agatha Thistle- 
thwaite and her little niece Eileen — only child of the 
house — Sir Marmaduke Thistlethwaite and his third 
Ministerial guest, the Right Honourable George Weir 
Kemp, completed the party. Lady Thistlethwaite had 
triumphed over all objections, overruled all excuses, 
hauled in all shufflers and would-be backsliders, and, 
considering herself bound to patronise morning service, 


had succeeded in doing so in company with all her 
distinguished guests. 

As Sir Marmaduke passed Farmer Jones' pew he 
noticed with interest the three young women. 

"Village beauties, eh?" he observed to Mr. Weir 
Kemp at his side. That gentleman turned and his eye 
met that of Miss Hilda Smith, fixed on him with smiling 
interest. He started, and allowing his host to pass 
before him, quickly turned right about and made for 
the door by which he had entered. It was done so 
promptly and unhesitatingly that his host never noticed 
the manoeuvre, but imagined he had taken his place 
among the rest in the chancel. 

" He's gone," said Hilda Smith to Jenny. " Scared 
to death when he recognised me." She could not keep 
a little satisfaction out of her voice. 

"A Cabinet Minister, and such a coward I" Jenny 
could hardly believe it possible. 

" Yes, but you see they're unguarded," answered 
her friend. " For three Suffragettes the proportion 
of police should be three hundred." 

" What a public testimony to us," whispered Nurse 

And then all three joined with fresh energy in the 
concluding verse of the hymn, 

'* Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war.*' 

The Reverend Sebastian Petre was taking a fort- 
night's so-called " rest " from the strenuous life of 
his Shoreditch parish, where, for eight years past, he 
had laboured amid superhuman obstacles and difficulties, 
winning his way at last to the hearts of his people — 
a stronghold from which nothing could now dislodge 
him. The familiar lean black figure with flying coat- 
tails, followed by grimy, grinning urchins to whom he 
dispensed sweets and halfpence, was a more welcome 


sight to the mothers of Shoreditch than any the day 
could show. And the men and boys, so hard to reach 
at first, now came to the evening classes in his little 
monk-like attic as though drawn by a magnet. 

He looked with surprise at the party who suddenly 
inundated the chancel. The unmistakable profiles of 
the two Cabinet Ministers gave him cause for con- 
siderable reflection while the curate was reading the 
First Lesson for the day. He noted also the three 
Suffragettes and their conspicuous badges. He won- 
dered whether their appearance in church had any 
connection with that of the two Right Honourable 
gentlemen, his thoughts flying back to- the long 
arguments with Nurse Dodds, when he was slowly 
recovering under her skilful nursing. Arguments 
which had at last convinced him as to the wisdom, the 
severe necessity, in fact, of an aggressive militant 
policy, where a Government has shown itself open, 
not to the arguments of justice and reason, but only of 
compulsion; no new thing after all, but merely testi- 
fying to the justice of the old charge brought against 
all former Governments of all ages. 

Father Petre was a Liberal, but had little fellowship 
with the politicians who style themselves by this at- 
tractive designation. Its attraction is undeniable, for 
it is impossible to disassociate the idea of a Liberal 
from the characteristic of liberality, and a hope of 
benefiting by this open-handed disposition; whereas the 
very name of Conservative suggests a tendency to close 
heart and purse-strings. As a Socialist of the early Chris- 
tian type, namely, a raiser of the fallen and not a mere 
puller-down of those who are up, he found little in 
common either with the so-called Socialist. Each served 
their party, putting it before all their fine-sounding 
principles. Otherwise how was it possible for a Liberal 
Government to deny the rights of citizenship to half its 


tax-paying, law-abiding citizens? And how was it pos- 
sible for a Socialist of true socialistic principles to 
stand by without moving a finger to secure for one 
half the human race what they fought so persistently 
to obtain, as an act of common human right, for the 
other half? 

So reflected Father Petre as his penetrating eye 
fixed now on one face and then another in the chancel 
pew opposite. Then his thoughts turned on himself, 
and that Church under whose banner he served. Did 
She stand guiltless when arraigned at the bar by 
Woman? Father Petre was feign to hang his head in 
shame as he called to mind how far the Church and 
the priesthood had departed from the perfect unity 
and equality of the sexes as taught by Him "in whom 
there is neither male nor female, bond nor free." 
"Alasl" he said to himself, "the Church has failed 
the women, has joined issue with their foes and op- 
pressors, has forced on them a marriage service which 
is in many essential particulars lowering to their woman- 
hood, and in others an insult to their intelligence. Yet 
woman has ever been the loyal mainstay of the Church; 
since that dark day when women alone stood by the 
Crucified Christ, and the men. His accredited disciples, 
forsook Him and fled. A woman discovered the sacred 
relic of the true Cross, yet to this day men exclude all 
women from the spiritual blessings supposed to accrue 
from a sight of the relic. — ^A typical instance I" 

The thoughts of the Father had wandered far afield. 
The three earnest young faces in the front pew brought 
him back to the present. He determined to break a 
lance for them, here and now— such an opportunity 
was not to be lost. The sermon, in notes in his pocket, 
must be discarded, and another quickly forged out 
of the seething mass of material in the furnace of his 
brain. The voice of the curate hammering out in 


clerical sing-song the story of Jael and Sisera supplied 
him with a peg on which to hang his discourse. He 
longed from the depths of his humble, honest heart, for 
gifts of oratory, that he might arrest the attention and 
appeal to the intellect of the men vested, for a short 
time, with so much power for good or ill. He sighed 
profoundly as he realised that the influence he exer- 
cised over his fellow-men in Shoreditch, which lay in 
reaching the heart by speaking from the heart, would 
avail him nothing with the men of St. Stephens. As 
his keen gaze fell, now on Mr. Boulder, and now on Mr. 
Blatherton, he knew he had no weapon in his armoury 
which could pierce the joints of their harness at any 
point. Then his eyes rested on the women, in their 
dainty laces and feathers, and some words of Maeter- 
link's recurred to him with peculiar force, appealing 
as they did to the idealist within him: 

" However crushed and weighed down by frivolity 
or sin the soul of a woman may be, you have only 
to whisper one word from the virgin depths of your 
own soul, and she will respond to you simply, with a 
word, a look, a gesture, no less pure than your own. 
The divine in her will come forth at your call. • . ." 
There and then Father Petre resolved to call aloud to 
the heart, to the soul of the Woman. 

He had not noted the sweet, cheery face of Sir 
Marmaduke's grey-haired sister, for being seated on 
the same side of the chancel as himself, she was entirely 
blotted out of his sight by the white embroideries and 
enormous picture-hat of Mrs. Boulder. 

Miss Agatha Thistlethwaite, like Father Petre, had 
given but a divided attention to the voice of the curate. 
After many years she found herself again beneath the 
imposing monument of her great-grandfather, where 
as a child she had sat each Sunday for so long in the 
days when the Abbey was her home. Strange to look 


back over the long vista of years, which had rushed by 
all the same so quickly, and to think that of all those 
familiar figures of her girlhood only she and her 
brother Marmaduke remained. One by one the others 
had all gathered on the Other Side, old and young 
alike. The familiar pew made her feel as though it 
were but yesterday she had sat there, a little girl with 
sunny brown curls, like the child now at her side; but 
yesterday she and her lover had wandered among the 
pine woods, and felt no heaven above could hold hap- 
piness more complete than this fair earth. 

But yesterday I And now her brown hair was silvery 
grey. Yet still, she was the life and soul of a child's 
party, and her gaiety and eternally youthful heart made 
her welcome wherever she went. For Agatha Thistle- 
thwaite never attempted the ambitious mission of mak- 
ing anybody good, whether man, woman, child, or dog, 
but she regarded it as the very reason of her being to 
try and make them happy, and she generally suc- 
ceeded. The more she learnt of the sadness and dis- 
appointment of life, the stranger did it appear to her 
that people should spend any of the short, hurrying 
years allotted to them here, in making each other 
miserable by quarrels and disputes. 

She looked across at the two Cabinet Ministers and 
thought of them with a profound pity little suspected 
by those gentlemen themselves. 

" Poor men/' she reflected, " it must be a most 
trying life for them, always fighting and opposing the 
other party — I'm thankful God made me a woman and 
not a man, above all not a politician." Then, with a 
start, the curate recalled her to the first lesson, and she 
realised they were in the throes of tragedy. 

" Jael and Sisera — dear me, so it is I How shock- 
ingly one's thoughts do wander in church. However," 
she added to herself, " that is not a story that has ever 


appealed to me, so I'll wander again. I hope little 
Eileen doesn't understand it — ^there is nothing lovely, 
in such a tale. ' Whatsoever things are pure, whatso- 
ever things are true, blessed and lovely — ^think on these 
things.' So by our thought do we form the spirit 
within, causing it to grow either after the pattern of 
the divine — or the erring carnal mind. Still, this story 
is true, of course, even if it is not lovely. I suppose 
one should not shirk the truth— however ugly— but oh I 
how all my soul recoils from violence in women I A 
woman with a hanuner in her hand and in her heart the 
desire to kill — Woman whose whole reason of being 
is to create, to nurture, to heal, to comfort. These poor 
deluded Suffragettes, if only they could see this I The 
spirit of self-sacrifice they display has something heroic 
in it, I can't deny, but oh I their methods, how de- 
plorable I I hope and pray dear Gertrude's Anti 
Society may succeed soon in saving the poor, dear 
deluded creatures from themselves.'* Then and there 
the gentle lady made a mental resolution to do all in 
her power to help her sister-in-law. It was so nice to 
see her really interested in doing something for her 
own sex I Her eyes rested kindly on the faded pretti- 
ness opposite, as she continued to herself: 

" What a pretty woman she is, and how young- 
looking still I She must have much temptation among 
her surroundings to think only of dress and admiration 
and the world, yet I could tell of many a kind deed 
done quietly by the right hand, without the left hand 
knowing, to my poor folk in Southwark — dear Ger- 
trude I There are people who judge her hardly because 
they see only the surface — oh, we poor humans should 
never judge one another I" 

Again her eyes wandered. 

*' What earnest happy faces those three young girls 
bav^i over tberiE^ in the front pew I One is a hospital 


nurs^, I see— she has learnt the secret of happiness — 
working for others. And the other two — one can see 
they also are workers — it is written all over their 
strong young faces — quiet, thoughtful, independent. I 
only wish girls of our class could be made to stand 
firmly on that dignified footing. . . ." 

" Aunt Aggie/' said a little voice at her side, as a 
small hot hand slipped into hers, " Aunt Aggie, why 
did she kiU him?"" 

" I'll tell you after churchy darling," Miss Thistle- 
thwaite whispered. 

" She didn't ought to've done it, did she, Aunt 
Aggie?" persisted the little voice. 

** Not • didn't ought/ dear—' shouldn't,* " corrected 
her aunt gently. 

"Well, 'shouldn't ought/ then— did she?" said 

" No— yes— we musn't talk in church, darling." 

Eileen relapsed into unsatisfied silence. 

Wandering thoughts were contagious that hot Sun- 
day morning in the village church. Through Mrs. 
Horace Boulder's well-coifed, pretty little head they 
coursed with the rapidity and abandon of rabbits in a 
cabbage-garden. She gazed with the eye of the con- 
noisseur on her hostess's hat, a creation in maize and 
tobacco colours, 

" That's a very chic hat of Gertrude Thistlethwaite I 
I must get one like it, only in vieux rose shades. 
That wonderful clairvoyante said last night I ought 
never to be seen out of ' vieux rose '—it contrasts with 
my hair and matches my aura. I wish I could see 
auras I " — she sighed softly to herself — " it would be 
such a help in engaging servants — ^and other ways. 
Knowing, for instance, when a man is really telling you 
the truth 1 ... It made me very uncomfortable her 
saying Horace's aura was sang-de-bauf. Somehow { 


could not help thinking of those awful Suffragettes and 
seeing Horace bathed in his own blood, and of course 
me and the children too* They are capable of any- 
thing! I never open a letter or parcel now without 
trembling, after having that awful fright with a box 
of frogs last week. It's true it turned out to be 
Bobbie — one of his silly jokes — but it's just the sort 
of thing these women might do, and Mrs. Weir Kemp 
had three anonymous letters last week threatening 
vitriol and rotten eggs, and I don't know what. . . ." 

Her roving eye skinuned over the heads of the 
congregation. " I wonder what became of Mr. Weic 
Kempt . . . Those three girls in the front there never 
take their eyes off the men in our pews. I suppose 
they've never seen any men of our world before, and 
are overcome with admiration. Queer little rosettes 
they're wearing I A teetotal badge, I suppose. . . •*' 

Suddenly she started violently. " No, it isn't — I can 
see the words from here — * Votes for Women I ' How 
perfectly awful I They must be some of those women — 
those wicked Suffragettes. They have tracked us 

Her pink cheeks became colourless, then flushed 
crimson with emotion. She turned to Lord Oglehami 
but he was wrapt in the deep sleep of an innocent 
child. She then whispered to Miss Thistlethwaite on 
her other side. That lady endeavoured to calm her, 
pointing out the youthful and harmless aspect of the 
girls, but in vain. 

Mrs. Boulder then began a series of small ma- 
noeuvres to try and attract her husband's notice — but he 
remained oblivious to all her signs. At last Lady, 
Thistlethwaite became aware that something was going 
on in the opposite pew. 

" I fancy your wife is trying to attract your atten- 
tion," she said in a loud whisper to Mr. Boulder. 


At this point, having failed with nods and coughs, 
Mrs. Boulder was making signs to her husband and 
spelling out on her fingers the word " Suffragettes." 

Mr. Boulder put up his eye-glass and watched the 
incomprehensible movements of the little tightly-gloved 
hands. He turned a face of irritated perplexity to 
Lady Thistlethwaite. " Is she trying to spell on her 

" I think she is spelling out ' suffering,' " said Lady 
Thistlethwaite, after carefully watching Mrs. Boulder's 
hands. " I expect it is your little Tommy who has a 
pain— I saw him eating a great many green goose- 
berries before church." Placing her hand on her 
waist-belt she raised her eyebrows in questioning form 
to Mrs. Boulder. 

"He looks all right," remarked Tommy's father, 
" but he*s eating something now — ^that boy never ceases 

" She wants to take him out, I think," observed 
Lady Thistlethwaite, whereupon Mr. Boulder nodded 
his head vigorously, implying his hearty consent to 
this move, and adding aside, " I wish to goodness she 
would— it's absurd bringing children to church." 

" Let us pray," pronounced the ringing deep voice 
of Father Petre, and all knelt. 

" Mrs. Boulder has guessed," whispered Jenny to 
Hilda Smith. " She's tried to make signs to her hus- 
band, but he won't see — she's writing something now." 

Mrs. Boulder meanwhile tore out a blank page from 
a hymn-book and after writing on it, and showing it 
to Miss Thistlethwaite, folded it into a note. 

" Tommy," she said, in an insinuating whisper to 
her son, "go and give this bit of paper to Daddy, 
like a darling." 

" I don* wan' to — I won't," replied that young gen- 
tleman^ promptly and uncompromisingly. 


" Hush, don't make a noise — I'll give yon some 
chocolates if you take it quick, like a good boy/' said 
his mother persuasively. 

But Tonuny knew better. He wasn't to be caught 
by female wiles, not he. " I don' wan' to, I tell you. 
But I'll have the chocklets— where are they?" he de- 
manded, ignoring his mother's hushed tones. 

"Hushl do be quiet," she implored, "they're not 

But the idea of chocolates was a fixed one now in 
Tommy's mind. " I want them, I say— give 'em • . ." 

Mrs. Boulder realised she might as well try to turn 
the father from a fixed purpose as this son of his. 

" You shall have them as soon as we get home if 
you'll be quiet now — ^schl Well, we'll go now and get 
them," she added feebly. 

Waiting a moment for an opportunity, as the con- 
gregation rose, Mrs. Boulder took Tommy by the hand, 
and crossing over to her husband herself gave him the 

" Look," said Nurse Dodds, " she has given him a 
note— she's going." 

" What a fine little chap I ^' observed Jenny. And as 
the exultant Tommy passed close to the front pew 
Jenny held out her bunch of violets to him. He 
clutched them eagerly. 

His mother gave a low exclamation of horror and 
tried to snatch them from him. 

" Tommy, give me those flowers. Oh God, he's 
smelling them I'* 

Again she made a futile grab at the violets. But 
Tonuny, dodging his mother, now ran briskly down 
the nave, saying in firm and audible tones: 

" I shan't— I want 'em," 

Following at a quick pace, Mrs. Boulder came up 
with her son at the church door. 


" Give me those flowers, you naughty boy. They're 
deadly poison— you'll die if you smell them," she cried 
excitedly, catching his hand and wrenching the violets 
from him as they got outside. 

Whereupon Tommy was heard yelling at the top of 
his voice: "You beast — gimme back my flowers, I 

Gradually the yells were lost in the distance. 

Jenny turned a troubled face to Nurse Dodds. " I 
reckon I've caused some trouble in the family." 

" Oh, look at Mr. Boulder— he's reading the note," 
whispered Hilda. 

" He's gone quite yellow— low vitality," remarked 
Nurse Dodds professionally. 

Mr. Boulder was meanwhile perusing the torn-out 
page of the hynm-book. 

" Horace— they are here— in the church. Those 
awful Suffragettes. Three of them in the front pew 
and Heaven knows how many more. I am certain they 
have vitriol ready to fling at me and Tommy. I can't 
stand the suspense a moment longer— am taking Tommy 
out.— Yrs. Helen.'* 

He passed the note to Lady Thistlethwaite. 

" She's right— they're there. Look I " she said, in 
low excited tones, and handed the note on to Mrs. 

"And these are the women who demand a vote!" 
said that lady with quiet triumph, after reading the 
paper. She looked at her host opposite. " Sir Marma- 
duke is fast asleep— what do you think of doing?" she 
asked Lady Thistlethwaite. The necessity for instant 
action was borne in upon everybody. The difficulty 
was to know what to do. 

Lady Thistlethwaite instinctively looked towards her 
sister-in-law, Agatha, but she was kneeling now, and 
ber face was hidden. 


" I can see Mr. Boulder is feeling very nervous/' 
she whispered to Mrs. Prendergast. 

" No wonder/' answered her friend. *' Let us be 
thankful Mrs. Boulder has saved the child." 

" I wonder why the boy was yelling like that/' said 
Lady Thistlethwaite uneasily. 

" You may depend that girl at the end of the pew 
pinched him as he passed/' said Mrs. Prendergast. 
She peaked herself on being a remarkable judge of. 
character at the first glance. 

" She looks capable of anything,'* agreed Lady 

" They are all looking at us now/' said Hilda Smith. 
" See how Mr. Blatherton keeps peeping sideways at 
us — they're all reading the bit of paper,, one after the 

As the congregation rose to join in the singing of the 
hymn which was to precede the sermon, the three 
Suffragettes noted with dismay that Mr. Blatherton 
unobtrusively slipped out of his pew and disappeared 
by a little side-door in the chancel. 

" There's only Mr. Boulder left," said Jenny sadly, 
" and I 'expect now he will leave before the sermon." 

" See," said Nurse Dodds. " Mrs. Blatherton is 
going out after her husband— they're scared to death 
of us — queer, isn't it?" 

" They're remembering how the youth David slew 
old giant Goliath," answered Jenny. 

But to the credit of Mr. Boulder it must be re- 
corded that he resisted all temptation to avail himself 
of the little side-door, and remained courageously to 
fac6 the music, on whatever instruments it might be 
played by his adversary the Voteless Woman. 

" My text is taken from the first lesson of this 
morning," gave forth the deep, bell-like tones of Father 
Petre — " Blessed above women shall Jael the wife 


of Heber be. Blessed shall she be above women in 
the tent. She put her hand to the nail and her right 
hand to the workman's hammer, and with the hammer 
she smote Sisera and smote off his head." 

Three pairs of young, bright, earnest eyes were 
riveted from this moment on the preacher's face. 

•• So, my brethren," he went on, ** we learn from the 
song of the inspired prophetess Deborah that there is 
a deed of violence which is justifiable, there is a wrath 
not only condoned but conunended, there is a rebellion 
which, when brought to bear against tyranny and op- 
pression, is accounted righteous and ' blessed.' 

" Now, let us calmly review this strange anomaly of 
a divinely-inspired prophetess, pronouncing a blessing 
upon a woman guilty of such a violent act as that 
recounted of Jael — ^a deed, which in consideration per- 
haps of the savage and brutal times in which it was 
conunitted, one might have expected condoned, but 
scarcely commended. The Judge of all men, the 
supremely righteous Judge, readeth the heart— and to 
understand aright, one must try and read the heart of 
Jael, looking below the surface, sound the depth of her 
motive, aye, and more, gauge the height of her self- 
sacrifice I 

" Jael, when she took in her hand the hanmier and 
the nail, must have realised poignantly that in her hand 
also she took as the penalty for failure, her life, and 
more than her life*-a penalty that did not bear con- 
templating. Before she made up her mind to a deed so 
revolting to her woman's soul, so contrary to her 
woman's instinct, she must have been overwhelmingly 
convinced that this was the only way to obtain her 
people's freedom from the tyrant's yoke. She felt 
herself in the terrible position of an instrument of 
Divine justice, compelled by a Power she dared not 
disobey^ to this supreme act of self-sacrifice, and even 


as Abraham dared not withhold the sacrifice of his well- 
beloved son, so Jael dared not withhold the sacrifice of 
all her woman's nature held most sacred. Like Char- 
lotte Corday d'Aumont in later days, she slew with 
her own hand the tyrant enemy of her people, laying 
on the altar her own life, and honour if needs be, for 
the salvation of her race. This is why Jael is pro- 
nounced blessed above other women.*' 

Mrs. Prendergast moved impatiently and murmured 
to Lady Thistlethwaite, " The bloodthirsty fanatic — ^he 
ought to be locked up." But Lady Thistlethwaite's 
eyes were fixed on the preacher with a fascinated gaze, 
and she made no reply. 

" I have always said the Bible was the most immoral 
of books," again observed her neighbour — but also 
without effect. 

Miss Thistlethwaite too found herself compelled to 

" Oh dear, how very difficult life is for some poor 
things," she reflected, a puzzled expression on her 
kindly face. " I have never quite liked Jael — so dread- 
fully inhospitable it always struck me — but really this 
man is making me feel after all perhaps she was quite 
a heroic creature. • • •" 

" Which things are an allegory, my dear brothers 
and sisters," continued Father Petre emphatically. 
" Now an allegory does not mean something which per- 
mits our folding our hands, and saying it has nothing 
to do with us, and no bearing on our individual lives — 
just the contrary. This ancient tale of a Jewish woman 
has a vital, practical meaning for every one of us 
here in this church this morning— and specially for 
every woman — old or young, rich or poor, gentle or 
simple. This is a call to you, my sisters — 2l call to 
arms. Not to do deeds of physical violence — no, the 
fight to which you are called is not on the physical 


plane. ' We wrestle not against flesh and blood/ re- 
member, but the enemy is none the less real, none the 
less terrible for all that. ' We fight against princi- 
palities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness 
of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high 
places.* •• 

*' Oh, he is a Socialist, thafs what he is." Lady 
Thistlethwaite turned to Mr. Boulder with a sense of 
relief. The man had puzzled her, held her spellbound 
a few moments, but now all was clear, and she was 
not to be caught. 

" Is he? I wasn't listening. It's too hot— wish he'd 
wind up." Mr. Boulder yawned obtrusively. 

" Amen I " proclaimed Lord Ogleham in a loud voice, 
waking suddenly, " Amen I " Then realising his mis- 
take, he quickly closed his eyes again and settled once 
more in his comer. 

"Oh I you women, come out and help us," cried 
Father Petre. " Take in your hands, metaphorically, 
the ' hanmier and the nail.' Fear not to be misjudged, 
to be branded as unfeminine, unwomanly. There are 
enemies to your country, to your home, to your chil- 
dren, which only you can slay, for they have come 
right across your threshold, a menace to the safety 
of your lives, aye, more than your lives. We men 
need your help, too, outside the home. For years you 
have been trying to touch the great black plague-spots 
of our civilisation, but at every turn you are confronted 
with lack of the lever, the one lever without which 
you cannot make your voices effectually heard. Like 
the stone at the mouth of the tomb^ this disability must 
be rolled away before you can issue forth in your 
resurrected strength. Let us roll it away together, 
men and women, shoulder to shoulder— do not hang 
back, my sisters, the issue at stake is too big, the 
danger of inaction too grave. Come out of your 


sheltered homes, your safe, pleasant places, come and 
purify our politics, come and bring a spirit of true 
patriotism into our councils — bring a spirit of godli- 
ness, a spirit of Christian love into our social laws, 
into our prison discipline, into our shameful streets," 
• ••••• 

" It is true— true — true," said Agatha Thistlethwaite 
to herself. " This man has come to me like a 
torch-bearer — I, a woman, have never before felt the 
full glory of my womanhood — nor the full duty. Dear 
Gertrude mustn't fight against women — not even Suffra- 
gettes. Why, I believe Father Petre . • . of course he 
would, there's no doubt about it, he would— he* d say 
they are right — not in acts of violence, perhaps, but 
in their main idea — ^he is saying as much now. . • . 
Oh dear, oh dear, am I going to have to be a Suffra- 
gette I What will dear Gertrude say?" 

Not only Miss Agatha Thistlethwaite, but many 
another woman, found herself that Sunday morning 
lifted suddenly out of the twilight of the dim old church, 
out of the moral twilight of her drear, grey life, into the 
clear azure of a higher plane, where for the time at least 
the veil was lifted from her eyes, and her own mission 
and relation to life, with all its glorious potentialities 
of true womanhood, showed radiantly distinct. Dry 
bones stirred in the valley, where, enclosed hitherto by 
the high rocks, they had grown atrophied and paralysed 
down the ages of stupefying superstitions and traditions. 
They stirred and stood upright, filled with the awaken- 
ing breath of a new life, never to sink into sleep again. 

" It is true — true — true," sang the heart of the woman 
who had ears to hear. 

But in the Abbey pews only the grey-haired Miss 
Agatha had as yet those hearing ears, though the voice 
of the preacher compelled attention in all but such im- 
penetrably solid sleepers as Lord Ogleham and Sir 


Mannaduke. To the others the preacher was either a 
religious fanatic, or a crazy Socialist. 

His voice dropped. The sermon had been forged 
red hot from his heart. His eyes shone down in sym- 
pathy on the faces looking up to his with unwonted 
emotion at receiving bread in place of the usual stone. 
Then, half turning towards the chancel pews, he said 
slowly and impressively: 

" In conclusion I would say I am myself a man of 
peace, in so far as peace may be maintained with 
honour. But Christ Himself, the Prince of Peace, be 
it remembered, c^une with a sword, and never shirked 
the fight when it was against evil, tyranny and hypoc- 
risy. And I solemnly warn you, both men and women, 
that there is a spirit of heroic courage and self-sacri- 
fice, even unto the death test, which has arisen among 
us." He paused and looked at the three Suffragettes 
whose faces were turned upwards to him with wrapt 
interest. " Let us beware lest we push those animated 
by that spirit, to desperate uses by an obstinate and 
stupid refusal to acknowledge the justice of a righteous 
claim— a noble cause.*' He closed the open Bible 
before him, and took up a hymn-book, saying in 
another voice, '* We will now join in singing to the 
praise and glory of God, hymn 91." 

The organ struck up, and the congregation and choir 
rose with a rustling sound of opening hymn-books. 
At the words " Christians up and slay them. Counting 
gain but loss,*' the three Suffragettes joined in with a 
heartiness that brought a fleeting smile to the dark, 
gleaming eyes of the preacher. 

" The most charitable view to take of that discourse 
is that the man is crazy," whispered Mrs. Prendergast 
to her hostess. 

" It's too bad of the old Vicar to go away and let 
a fire-brand like that into his pulpit," answered Lady 


Thbtlethwaite, remembering with resentment how the 
preacher had stirred her at first. 

'* Better wait, I suppose, until the congregation have 
dispersed/' said Mr. Boulder, with a nervous glance at 
the three girls. 

*' Yes, I will go on with the others and you can 
follow with Marmaduke," agreed Lady Thistlethwaite. 
" He is showing Lord Ogleham the old brasses, you 
see. Those awful women have left the church/' she 
added with relief as the three Suffragettes disappeared. 
"If they are waiting I will tell the sexton to send them 
off before you come out/' 

Outside the church porch Jenny and her two friends 
mingled with the other people till Nurse Dodds, seeing 
the flying black coat-tails of her clerical friend issuing 
from the vestry door, went off to greet him, leaving the 
other two to watch for the Right Hon. Boulder. 

Father Petre shook a long, lean finger at Nurse 

"Now, Nurse, what are you up to?" he demanded. 
" Come, own up?" 

" Just carrying out the advice given us by one of 
their own Prime Ministers, Father Petre— surely we 
can't do better," she answered. 

"And that was?" 

"Go on pestering— it's the only way you'll ever get 
it. I can show you the very words in print," she added 

" I don't doubt it," said the Father, smiling kindly 
at her eagerness. " But now don't you think it would 
be well to suspend hostilities on Sundays — like our 
enemies the Boers, you remember, in the war?" 

" We might if we were using guns on them," she 
answered, " but we are only maintaining an attitude — 
we can't suspend thai you see, for it's an attitude of 
spirit and thought. You noticed, perhaps, how just the 


sight of us, three harmless, weaponless young women 
in summer dresses, was enough to make two Cabinet 
Ministers leave the church, and scared the remaining 
one so that he turned pale as a parsnip." 

" But how about pestering?" inquired her friend. 

•' We daren't throw away such a precious chance for 
presenting our petition," she answered. " Remember 
how they are all guarded and protected, more than 
crowned heads. Never an opportunity for speaking to 
one of them, and all our deputations stopped by the 
police and arrested if we persist. If it pesters them even 
to hear women want the vote, why your sermon must 
have pestered them," she added, with a twinkling eye. 
" Besides, this sort of little insignificant outpost skir- 
mish is the only sort the papers will report. You'll 
see to-morrow morning there's not a paper won't have 
headlines on ' the Suffragettes and the Cabinet Minis- 
ters in a country church ' — ^and that does good, for it 
makes people remember women want the vote." 

" Well, well, no doubt you're right — ^go on and 
prosper — ^my blessing on you." 

He shook hands and they parted, Nurse Dodds re- 
turning to her waiting friends, whom she joined just in 
time to see Sir Marmaduke, Lord Ogleham, and Mr. 
Boulder come out of church, the latter walking cautiously 
between the other two. As previously arranged, Jenny 
and Hilda Smith instantly darted forward, and going up 
to Mr. Boulder, each took an arm of the flabbergasted 
gentleman and walked beside him in friendly fashion, 
while Nurse Dodds followed close in their wake. 

" Mr. Boulder, when will you Ministers of the 
Government give the Vote to Women?" asked Jenny, 
with gentle insistence. 

"When will you do justice to women?" demanded 
Hilda Smith on his other side. 

Quickening his pace, and endeavouring by a jerky 


movement to free himself from the unwelcome pendants 
on his armsy Mr. Boulder answered hurriedly: 

" Go away, go away, my good women, this is neither 
the time nor the place. . . ." 

" Appoint us a time and a place then/' said Nurse 
Dodds, •' The Prime Minister and you Members of 
the Cabinet persist in refusing to receive our deputa- 

At this juncture Jenny presented the petition she 
carried. " Will you take our Resolution now and 
consider it? Here it is." 

They had just reached the little gate which led from 
the churchyard into the Abbey grounds. Mr. Boulder, 
looking round helplessly, could only reply : 

" Bye and bye, bye and bye, I say. Why don't you 
attack the Prime Minister?" he asked suddenly, seeing, 
as he hoped, a chance of reprieve. 

" Because, as you know, he is in France," Jenny 
answered, in a tone of quiet reproach. 

" But can't you see the impropriety . . .?" began 
poor Mr. Boulder, as he realised the village eyes 
following him curiously. 

"I'm sorry if it has that look, but you leave us no 
choice, you Ministers of the Cabinet," replied Hilda 
Smith sternly. 

Sir Marmaduke and Lord Ogleham followed at a 
distance, laughing, and making no attempt to rescue the 
unfortunate Right Hon. Boulder. 

"The Suffragettes have got 'im. Poor old chap I 
Ha, hat nicely nabbed, wasn't he?" said the host, and 
his unprincipled old friend answered in the same spirit 
of levity, with a knowing eye on the red-gold head of 
Hilda Smith: 

" Deuced pretty girl, the fair one — I'd shake off 
that other girl and the nurse, though — two is company, 
eh? what?" 


But now^ to his unspeakable relief, as they passed 
into the Abbey grounds, Mr. Boulder perceived in 
the distance the welcome forms of two of the ladies; 
he hurried as best he could towards them, impeded as 
he was by Suffragettes on either side. 

•• Why, look at Mr. Boulder," cried Lady Thistle- 
thwaite in amazement. *' He is actually walking arm- 
in-arm with those awful Suffragettes — ^he is bringing 
them in here I" 

Mrs. Prendergast raised her lorgnettes and levelled 
them at the strangely-assorted group. 

'* He is not doing so voluntarily, my dear Lady 
Thistlethwaite. Can't you see his terrible predicament? 
We must go and deliver him. Sir Marmaduke and the 
other men are actually laughing.'* She hastened forward. 

** Just like Marmaduke— men are such idiots," said 
her hostess, following. 

'* Oh, they've caught him, they've caught him/' cried 
a high treble voice from one of the upper windows 
of the old Abbey. " Run for the house, Mr. Boulder. 
Mr. Weir-Kemp and my husband are here in safety." 

Lady Thistlethwaite turned and looked up in sur- 
prise. " Why, there is Mrs. Blatherton— they must 
have got out of that tiny vestry window I " She waved 
her hand to Mrs. Blatherton and laughed. 

•* Out of the vestry window? What wonderful cour- 
age and presence of mindl" cried Mrs. Prendergast 

" Oh, it's close to the ground," explained Lady 
Thistlethwaite, " but so narrow I can't think how they 
squeezed through. Fear makes you grow thin, I sup- 

" Very well, Mr. Boulder, if you promise to bring 
forward a Bill for Woman's Suffrage, we need not 
trouble you further," said Nurse Dodds, as the relief 
party came up. And Jenny added: 


" Then well be looking for a Bill for Votes for 
Women before this year's out. This is the Petition." 
She handed a paper to Mr. Boulder, who stuffed it 
hastily into his pocket, saying irritably, and with re- 
turning confidence: 

" It's the Prime Minister you must go to, I tell you. 
What's the good of worrying me like this?" 

Nurse Dodds faced him reproachfully : 

" But you've just given your promise, and you your- 
self, as a Member of this Government, can bring for- 
ward a Bill." 

Jenny and Hilda Smith still clung firmly to his arms. 
" Very well, very well," he said, " but be off with you, 
I say. Such conduct is really most embarrassing — 
most improper. • . ." 

" Leave that gentleman alone this moment, you 
shameless creatures. How dare you touch him?" cried 
Mrs. Prendergast in loud indignation, while Lady 
Thistlethwaite called to her husband still lingering at 
the gate enjoying his joke with Lord Ogleham: 

" Marmaduke, send for some of the gardeners to 
drive these women off the grounds. It's really not a 
subject for joking.'* 

Nurse Dodds turned tt> Lady Thistlethwaite. 

" We had imperative business with Mr. Boulder. 
It is concluded, and we are going.'* Jenny and Hilda 
Smith relinquished their hold, and instantly Mr. Boulder 
hurried off, making for the house, where he dis- 
appeared. The three Suffragettes turned and walked 
rapidly towards the gate. 

" Marmaduke, are you going to stand by without 
even setting the dogs on them — seeing one of your 
guests attacked like that?" again appealed his 

" Well, but they've gone," protested Sir Marmaduke 
feebly, " and Mr. Boulder's .escaped— what more do 


you want? You women are so unreasonable. Where's 
Aggie? Let her tackle them,*' 

" I wish she would/' snapped his wife. " Eileen 
has taken her off to tell her stories on the haystack. 
It's really too tiresome to leave me everything to do.** 

" Aggie hates rows as much as I do, bless her. I'm 
off to the haystack too. Come along, Ogleham.*' 

" Thought I should have died, seeing those two girls 
marching him off before all the village people," laughed 
Lord Ogleham to his fellow-sinner. '* They think 
he's as thick as thieves with the Suffragettes I Ha, 
ha I Best joke I ever saw I" 

'* I would not have missed it for a thousand pounds," 
rejoined Sir Marmaduke. " Poor old Boulder, not much 
' Bold ' about him, eh? Caught .ii\ church by the 
Suffragettes after being guarded all the week by an 
army of detectives like the Czar of Russia." 

** Well, he was * Bolder * than the other two — they 
hooked it in the middle of the service," chuckled his 

" I never witnessed a more indecent, outrageous 
scene in my life — one blushes for one's sex," observed 
Mrs. Prendergast severely. 

" Deuced pretty girl Aough that fair one," inter- 
posed Lord Ogleham. " I'd have given her a vote 
and a kiss too if I'd been Boulder and had her hanging 
on my arm.'* 

Mrs. Prendergast gave him a look that should have 
shrivelled his portly dimensions had his skin not been 
so thick. She turned and walked away with her hostess 
in the opposite direction, and they compared notes as to 
the intrinsic idiocy of the superior sex. 

" I wonder what those awful creatures, women one 
cannot call them, will do next?" sighed Mrs. Prender- 


She knew next morning. On rising about an hour 
before the arrival of the housemaid with her morning 
tea, and drawing aside the curtains to look out on the 
lovely grounds of the old Abbey^ a sight met her gaze 
which caused the poor lady to rub her eyes in dazed 
bewilderment. Her first idea was nightmare, for her 
dreams had been troubled by the painful impressions 
of the previous day. But the brilliancy of the summer 
morning soon dispelled this solution of the staggering 

During the quiet hours, when all slept, that fair 
garden had blossomed, not as the rose, but as the 
Albert Hall on a gala Suffragette night. The rose 
trees showed, in place of blooms, winding ribbons bear- 
ing the inscriptions, " Votes for Women " — " Dare to 
be Free •*— •* No Surrender.** The Corisand border 
was edged with an oft-repeated refrain of the audacious 
words, " No Vote, no Tax.*' In the distance could be 
distinguished on the rhododendron bushes gigantic ban- 
ners waving with triumphant impudence in the morning 
breeze, while overriding the beds of begonias, under, 
the very windows of the Abbey, she read the insolent in- 
scription, *' Taxation without representation is tyranny.*' 

Not only had the moon and the stars shone down in 
an abetting silence on the midnight marauders, but 
apparently the very dogs had also been won over to 
a conspiracy of silence« 



There was to be a small dinner party at Sir Godfrey 
Walker's house in Carlton House Terrace. Lady 
Walker was away, unexpectedly called to be in attend- 
ance on her daughter. Lady Penhaven, whose sixth 
child had arrived and departed, without even a look 
round at the rose-coloured bedroom where it opened 
feebly blinking eyes. 

Alice was doing hostess in her mother's absence, and 
intended, moreover, taking advantage of that same 
maternal absence to carry out a bold design, the 
thought of which made her wonder what she, quiet, 
commonplace, conventional little Alice Walker, was 
coming to. She watched herself with the same interest 
and curiosity she had felt as a child, when looking at 
Japanese paper flowers unfolding in a bowl of water. 
Alice had often lately felt tempted to throw herself 
bodily into the bowl of water and watch what would 
happen. But she hovered still on the brink. 

The Walker's London establishment was liable to 
the constant ebb and flow of passing domestics, which 
is the normal condition of most big Town houses. But 
there were certain fixtures, or more properly speaking, 
permanent pillars of the house of Walker, whose stead- 
fastness enabled the mbtress to bear, with equanimity, 
the changing and passing of the less essential parts of 
the structure. Chief among the pillars was Mr. Par- 



kins, that imposing and dignified figure already en- 
countered at the portals of Brackenhill Hall. 

The Chippendale grandfather's clock in the comer 
of the long dining-room pointed to 7.45 as Mr. Parkins 
appeared at the door, bearing in his hands some bottles 
of rare vintage from the cool cellars below. 

" Come, hurry up with that table, you two," he said, 
sternly eyeing the two footmen leisurely arranging 
silver and glass at the sideboard. " Blest if you've 
laid a spoon this half hour I" 

" Couldn't recollect how many you said to lay for, 
Mr. Parkins; my memory's like a sieve," remarked the 
elder of the two, with pleasant ease. 

" Twelve — no, fourteen— if I've said it once it's a 
dozen times," answered Parkins shortly. 

" Only a small affair, then," observed the footman. 

" Honly a small affair numerically, William." Par- 
kins inflated his chest; these two new arrivals needed 
taking down, like most of the younger generation Par- 
kins found, but it had to be done judiciously, specially 
in the middle of the season. ** While 'er ladyship is 
away we don't give our big feeds. But generally 
speaking it's the small affairs, let me tell you, are the 
most ' distinky,' as Miss Alice calls it. To-night, for 
instance, 'ere's the ' cream delar cream,' or to use an 
'omely expression for your benefit, William, ' the pick 
o' the basket.' " 

William paused in his amble round the table to 
bow, as with an amused smile he retorted : 

" Thank you, Mr, Parkins, for youc affability in 
condescending to the 'umble level of my understandin'; 
but with the facilities offered by a Polytechnic Travel 
Club, French is accessible even to us commonality 
nowadays — it wasn't so in your day, I am aware.'* 

" There's a deal of impudence accessible to you young 
fellows, nowadays, and you've acquired it, no mistake." 


" Got 'im there, Mr. Parkins/* struck in the second 
footman, with an appreciative chuckle at the elder 
man's refusal to be daunted. " W'o*s to be in the 
cream-jug to-night, if you've no objection to enlight'- 
nin' an earnest inquirer?" 

" We've got some of the cream of the political set," 
answered Parkins with dignified reserve, as he placed 
his champagne carefully in coolers. 

"I'm somewhat ignorant of that set," admitted the 
second footman, " 'aving only associated so far with 
the ignorant and effete classes of the aristocracy." 

" Dukes have been more in our line," observed 
William. " You can see it in George's languid, 'aughty 
air— I've got it too, so they tell me." 

" Then it's just as well for the pair of you to 'ave 
yer horizons enlarged by coming to a house like this. 
It's a education in itself, let me tell you, to hand the 
dishes to such distinguished feeders as we 'ave 'ere 
to-night. Dooks, indeed I" Parkins sniffed scornfully. 
"Their time's up, let me tell you I But on these 
identical chairs will sit two leading members of the 
present Cabinet — our son-in-law, the Right Honour- 
able 'Orace Boulder, and the Right Honourable James 
Weir-Kemp. Both 'ave made their way up from mere 
middle-class lawyers, which shows what brains and 
push can do. Either of 'em may at any moment climb 
a peg higher an' find 'imself Premier of hall England 
— things are very unsettled in 'ead-quarters." 

The two footmen listened with interest, and the elder 
observed, with a touch of respect grateful to the ears 
of Parkins: 

" I suppose you're quite in the know, Mr. Parkins?" 

" Naturally I am, young man, in a persition like 
mine, with eyes and ears kept well open. Where are 
those cards?" He took up a small packet of cards 
lying on the table and read them out with a short 


comment upon each for the enlightenment of his under- 
lings : 

•* Lady Thistlethwaite— Baronet's lady, grass widow I 
husband gouty, gone to Carlsbad. Mr. Noel Crowley — 
an M.P. *e is and an Hon., but father's only a new beer 
peer— rich as Creases, but quite plebian as you may 
say. Now 'ere's Miss Mary O'Neil, she's a good old 
stock and the real thing, she is — the late Viscount Mont- 
derry's daughter, but Irish and poor as church mice 
all the O 'Neils. Then 'ere's Count de Launay, dis- 
tinguished Frenchman— not as we think much of foreign 
titles, but we've been payin* 'im a good deal of atten- 
tion lately, ' ontente cordial ' an' all that— intelligent 'e 
is foi: a foreigner, and not deficient in a certain sense of 

" Well, the longer I attend at fashionable feeds the 
more I learn to appreciate thai quality," said the 
younger footman, " it's a blessed alleviation from their 
'eavy dullness.*' 

" With you therci George," said his fellow-footman 

" Mr. Joseph 'Opton," went on Parkins, such criti- 
cisms were not to his taste in these menials. " Joe 
'Opton, Labour Member ..." 

"You never mean he^s comin* 'ere?" cried George, 
with sudden eagerness. 

"Certainly. We make a good deal of the Labour Party, '^ 
said Parkins, " and this chap comes from our place in the 
north. We invite a self-made man such as this 'Opton, 
both as a natural curiosity to amuse the ladies, and 
as a matter of diplomacy. W'o knows, 'e may be a 
notability before you can look round— we're strong on 
notabilities. We 'ad the Alambrer dancin' girl here 
the other day, an' the man w'o flew the Channel, an' a 
nigger monarch of sorts — quite a ' melange,' as Miss 
Alice says," 


" A menagerie^ I suppose you mean/' said the first 

The second murmured thoughtfully to hunself: 

" To think of Hopton coming to this I I'd never 'ave 
believed it I'* 

" Let's have the rest of the guests^ Mr, Parkins," 
said William. " There's Mrs. 'Orace Boulder, I sup- 
pose? Is she clever, like her husband?" 

" No, she's not — nor is it required of 'er that she 
should be," answered Parkins severely. " Wives of 
Cabinet Ministers,*' he went on informingly, " are 
usually, as you'll notice if you cultivate your powers 
of observation, William, without being precisely non- 
entities, second fiddlers, or even third fiddlers, one 
might say. Our young ladies 'ave all been well brought 
up not to show off on the public platform, but to 
shine as wives in any persition--orniments in any 'ome 
— ^which is the woman's sphere." 

*' Good — excellent," observed William, with a wink 
at George. " And the rest of the female gender ex- 
pected to-night?'* 

" Somewhat powerfully represented, I may say," 
answered Parkins, taking up the two remaining cards, 
" for here we 'ave Mrs. Prendergast and Miss Selina 
Crompton— cream of literature and exploration respec- 

" Sort of Noo Women, I suppose?" suggested George. 

A faint smile flickered across the imperturable face 
of Parkins. " Well, they're neither of 'em noo in the 
sense of bein' precisely spring chickens/' he said, " if 
that's your definition of ' noo,' but in the sense of eman- 
cipated females standin' on their own achievements, 
independent of man, yes, that they certainly are. Public 
speakers too, against the Women's Movement and the 
Suffrigitts and all that common lot. Oh, they'd down 
'em if they could^ and quite right too^ in my opinion," 


he concluded, with a detennined snap of the jaws, 
which bespoke a good deal of personal feeling. 

'* Are you against the women havin' their vote, 
Mr. Parkins?" inquired George, with an amused smile. 

" Yes, I hantf young man, and if you'd had all the 
trouble we've 'ad with them, you'd feel as I do, and 
stronger, no doubt. As to the Master, he'd burn 'em 
if he could. Make a bonfire of the 'ole bilin' and 
strike the first match with all the pleasure in life. 
They've pestered us to death, those women, and the 
impudence of 'em I Workin' against us at the elections, 
lowered our majority, they did, a good thousand votes. 
As to Boulder, Blatherton, and the Prime Minister, 
their lives 'as been made a burden to them. They 
come ringin' at their front-doors an' pushin' right in, 
if they don't look out sharp — chainin' themselves to 
the railin's in Downing Street — delivered at the door 
by parcels' post two of 'em again last week. They'd 
try an' get in here if they knew we'd Boulder and Weir- 
Kemp dining to-night. But, cunnin' as they are, we're 
too sharp for 'em. . . • Yes, my dear, I'm ready for 
you and your flowers now." 

This last was addressed to Jenny Clegg, transformed 
into a trim, white-capped little housemaid, who entered 
at this point with a large tray of flowers and cut-glass 

" May I arrange them for you, like I did the other 
night, Mr. Parkins?" she asked deferentially. "Miss 
Alice said she'd no objection, and the housekeeper's 
let me choose the same pretty colours." 

" You may, my dear." Parkins's tone was fatherly, 
but his eye observant and appreciative, as it rested on 
the glossy head and trim round figure. " It's no use 
giving flowers to William to arrange, 'is taste is deplor- 
able in floral decoration, but your little fingers are 
possf^sed of the necessary cunning, as one may say." 


" Thank you, Mr. Parkins," Jenny answered de- 
murely; " it's a real pleasure to me to handle flowers." 

Parkins smiled benevolently on Jenny. The two 
footmen came to her side, one pouring out the water 
for her, and the other picking out the flowers. 

•• Now, you pair of loafers, get to work at once, 
will you I" cried Parkins irritably. "Seem to think 
you're sort of ornamental poodles." 

The footmen dispersed with a grin at Jenny, and 
left the coast clear for their superior, who devoted 
his attention to the pretty housemaid and her flowers. 

Parkins in an amiable frame of mind was a neces- 
sary part of Jenny's scheme, but she took care to keep 
him strictly to the parental rdle, in spite of all attempts 
on his part to grow younger. The silver head was in 
close proximity to the glossy brown when in rushed 
Alice Walker, a vision of soft, white Liberty satin, and 
straw-coloured roses which matched her shining straw- 
coloured hair. ■• 

"Where are the cards. Parkins?" She seized them 
quickly and began a rapid shuffle. " Now, let me 
see. • • • Oh dear, I wish I could mix them all up 
like a salad I I must have the French Count on one 
side and Mr. Weir-Kemp on the other, I suppose." 
She paused and looked at Jenny's flowers. " That's 
very pretty, Jane." Then she added as Parkins re- 
tired to the sideboard: "So thai is vrhy you wanted 
to do the flowers, Jane? — your Union colours." 

Jenny looked at the flowers affectionately. " Would 
you like these little ribbons twisted in the smilax?" she 
asked innocently. 

" Yes, certainly," said Alice. " Let's have the 
ribbons too, and do it properly— I am getting more 
courage every day. I wish I dare come right out and 
wear the colours myself and proclaim them aloud. 
But," she added, lowering her voice, " when you've all 

THE D/fffft/^ PARTY 215 

your family against you — all for whom you care. • • . 
However, Jemiy, I'm going to back you up Co-night. 
We'll make Mr. Boulder and Mr. Weir-Kemp at all 
events look at that Petition, and the Anti ladies too— 
they shan't ever be able to say again, that only a mere 
handful of hysterical, idle women want the vote.*' 

*' Well, no one can call this quarter of a million idle 
— ^we're working women every one. It's splendid of 
you to help me do this, Miss Walker. The truth is " — 
Jenny hesitated — ** I came here just on the chance of 
maybe getting such an opportunity.'*- 

" There's a funny side to it when you think that 
yott came here through Lady Thistlethwaite— a lead- 
ing Anti," laughed Alice. 

" She little thought how useful she was going to be 
to me," chuckled Jenny, remembering that day under 
the pines, and the scornful lorgnettes of the lady in blue. 

•• You haven't told Mrs. Wilmot or Miss O'Neil you 
are here?" inquired Alice Walker. 

Jenny shook her head: " I've told nobody.. I thought 
best not— they might get blamed on my account. I'm 
supposed to be having a holiday— I acted on my own 

" It was an excellent idea, for it will give .them all 
the feeling that they can't get away from this thing, 
they can't squash it and they can't escape it — that's what 
you've got to make them feel — persuasion and reason and 
begging aren't a bit of good with Cabinet Ministers. 
I've seen enough of them to know that," said Alice. 

" Well, I'm going to petition," Jenny went on, " but 
I don't suppose I'll be able to do more than show the 
big roll of names — they'll never let me get in two 

"I'll see what I can do to help you," promisefd 
Alice. " Come in during the dessert before the ladies 
rise, and go straight up to Mr. Boulder." 


" I do hope it won't make trouble for you at home." 
Jenny looked at her friend doubtfully. 

" You were not deterred by the trouble it would 
make for you at home, when you joined the women*s 
army, Jane. But I confess I am a sad coward," Alice 
sighed, '* I feel sick with fright when I think of my 
parents and Captain 0*Neil, because I care so much 
what they feel. Then, when I think of you and my 
cousin Mary I get quite brave again, and when I 
remember my brother-in-law and his colleagues, I'm 
so boiling with indignation I'm ready for any- 

" I believe you'll be volunteering for danger service 
soon," said Jenny hopefully. 

" I'm not sure tfus isn't danger service. . . ." 
Alice looked grave a moment. " I must be quick and 
place these cards — they'll be here soon. Help me, 
Jane. Hold the men " — she laughed—" the trouble- 
some meUj while I place the women." She flitted 
round the table^ dropping the little name-cards into 
each place between the green leaves of the smilax, 
which wound round the vases of purple and white 
orchids, and the tiny glass dishes of green olives also 
proclaiming the Union colours, though never did dinner- 
table look less guilty of any purpose more serious than 
that of delighting the eye. 

Suddenly she paused, holding one of the cards with 
a puzzled expression. 

" Where on earth can I put Joseph Hopton? . . . 
I wish I could have him next to me, but I must take 
on the Count and Mr. Weir-Kemp, I suppose. Did you 
ever meet Mr. Hopton up north, Jane?" she asked 

Jenny stooped to pick up a fallen leaf before she 
answered indifferently: 

" I have met him—I used to know him " 


Alice Walker ignored the indifference. She was all 
eagerness to hear more« 

"You did? How interesting! What is he like in 
his own home, among his own people, I wonder?" 

Jenny screwed herself up to speak of him naturally: 

" Oh, he's got fine ideas— ideals, I should say. He 
ought to be on our side "—she could not keep a little 
resentment out of her voice—" but he isn't— because 
he doesn't know. • • •" 

Alice shot a quick glance at Jenny. She was good 
at mind-reading. 

" Then you may be sure he will be in time— all 
idealists must be," she said cheerfully. " My father 
in his heart disapproves of Mr. Hopton, but he cul- 
tivates him because he recognises he has influence with 
the working-man." 

" These two new footmen are on our side — they've 
belonged to the Men's League for more than a year, 
they tell me. The men are coming round fast every- 
where." Jenny did not wish to talk of Joe Hopton. 

" That's what we need — ^have always needed. Only 
let us get enough voters with us and our Cause is 
won," answered Alice. "A quarter-past eight I" she 
cried, " I must fly. Remember, Jane, all the time 
I am sitting here laughing and talking I shall be 
thinking of you waiting outside with the Petition." 
She flew upstairs with a swiftness that would have' 
done credit to Bobby's schoolboy legs. 

Jenny stood a moment gazing at the little card on 
which Joe's name was inscribed. 

" I little thought to meet you, Joe— and like this 
tool Well, I'm not sorry, after all." She moved on, 
then paused and shook a firmly-clenched fist, first at 
the card of Mrs. Prendergast, and then at that of Miss 
Crompton. " Women's worst enemies," she murmured, 
" you, who could have helped us so much." 


William appeared in the doorway. 

•' Have you got the Petition?" she asked quickly. 
•• We mustn't lose a minute." 

•• George is bringing it up now— I came to recon- 
noitre/' whispered Williain in the tones of a conspirator. 

Jenny went to the curtain and moved it aside. 

" We can put it behind here, see? Just behind the 
curtain. I will signal to you from the door when to 
bring it to me." 

" You may depend on us both, Miss Clegg/* said 
William firmly. 

" I do depend on you," Jenny assured him*. " It's 
splendid the way you men are helping us," she con- 
tinued, as the second footman appeared, a large roll 
in his arms. 

Jenny took it from him and placed it carefully 
behind the curtain. 

Just then the door-bell rang. 

"•Ere's an early wonnr* cried William. "Not 
eight-fifteen yet I Mr. Parkins, door I" he called, and 
the three able-bodied men stationed themselves to re- 
ceive with due ceremony the first guest. 

" He was a gent with yeller kid gloves — the natural 
curiosity, Mr. Joe 'Opton," announced William, re- 
turning presently to the dining-room. 

•• Dry up you, William — I'll * natural curiosity *• you," 
said George indignantly. " Joe's a deal too good for 
this lot — I consider he's demeanin' 'imself comin' here. 
Puttin' on yellow gloves I Somebody's been puUin' 
his leg, poor chap I" 

Jenny lingered involuntarily. The subject held her 
though she took no part. 

" Wot's he do it for, then? He's not one of this 
lot^why does he try to be?" 

" Aye, why does he try to? — oh Joel " said Jenny to 


" He isn't tryin' to," retorted the loyal George. 
" If he goes among them it's because 'e's usin' them 
for 'is own purpose." 

William shrugged his shoulders: 

" Oh, I'm not blamin' 'im—ambitious, like all of us, 
I suppose— wants to get into the Cabinet some day, 
like others we might mention. Five thousand a year 
too ain't to be sneezed at." 

" That's not Joe 'Opton— you don't buy him for five 
thousand a year— nor yet ten," said George stoutly, and 
Jenny blessed him for those words. 

Parkins came in and looked round to see every 
spoon was in its place. His well- trained eye detected 
an un}¥onted fold in the curtain. He brought it to 
order, and in doing so the roll touched his correcting hand. 

" Whatever's this? It wasn't 'ere an hour ago, I'll 
swear. . • • One of those bazaar things I " He turned 
round to find Jenny at his elbow. 

" Give it to me, Mr. Parkins. It's my fault putting 
it there," she said in soothing tones. " Or," she added, 
" will you let me leave it here till after dinner? I won't 
forget it, no fear," 

Parkins allowed her to put it back, and then bade 
her be off. It was time now to announce dinner. 

" The last of the cream's just come," he said.. " Miss 
Crompton, thin cream she isl'*- 

" Sour cream," added Jenny, aside, •* or will be 
before this evening's over." 

*' It was a narrow squeak when the old boy got it 
in his hand," whispered William to George, as they 
stood to attention, rigid and imperturable as figures 
at Madame Tussaud's. 

" My 'eart went pitter-pat — you might have knocked 
me down with a feather," answered the other wax 
figure, without moving a muscle of his face; 

The seven couples filed in languidly, uttering short. 


ready-made nothings^ and took their places at the 
long, oval table. 

Mary 0*Neil found herself next to Sir Charles 
Crompton, whom she had not met since the day she 
had, as her aunt described it, been taken with an attack 
of midsummer-madness in the garden, the result, of 
course, of going over the mill on such a day. 

Many, but futile, had been the efforts of Sir Charles 
to see his divinity during the year that had elapsed. 
For in spite of midsummer-madness, and partly perhaps, 
even because of it, she remained always his one and 
only divinity. 

Mary had not intentionally avoided him, but she 
avoided his world and his set, feeling less and less ii^ 
conunon with them as she threw herself more and more 
into the absorbing work and interest of the great 
Woman's Movement. Politics had never appealed to 
her. The idea of working for a party was, to her, 
paltry, cramping, and uninspiring— she would as soon 
have devoted her energies to a milliner's shop. But she 
was ready to help any party, Tory, Whig, or Radical, 
who worked for a measure bringing national good, 
and the Women's Vote she had become convinced was 
essential to the national welfare. Alice Walker had 
persuaded Mary to come to this dinner, feeling she 
needed an antidote to the three " Anti " ladies invited 
by her mother, now prevented from entertaining them. 
But she had kept the Antis from Mary, making mention 
merely of Joe Hopton, as an inducement. Alice had a 
sneaking liking for the stiff, upright Sir Charles, with 
his persistent constancy to an unattainable star; and 
determined to give him a chance, as she considered it— 
though a chance of the most chancy description, she 
was bound to confess to herself. 

Lady Thistlethwaite's high soprano soared above the 
hum of other voices: 


" I hear you're the best bridge-player in Town, 
Mr. Boulder. You must write a book on ' auction ' and 
cut out my brother Theodore; he's quite too impossibly 
conceited, and needs taking down." 

Mr. Boulder murmured something about being a bit 
off colour, he didn't get time enough n<5w he had taken 
up golf again. 

" And I suppose those tiresome Cabinet meetings^ 
to say nothing of the House, encroach on your time 
dreadfully." Lady Thistlethwaite's voice vibrated with 
sympathy, but for a moment the Right Honourable 
gentleman shot a glance of suspicion at his fair neigh- 
bour. Her melting, blue eyes reassured him, and 
he ignored the mischievous laugh of his sister- 
in-law and her remark as she turned to Count de 
Launay : 

"These poor Ministers I ^esi un miiler de chien, 
isn't it. Count?" 

" Ma folj Mademoiselle. * A dog's life '—1 would 
say that description is admirably accurate for the poor 
English Ministers in this moment." 

Mr. Weir-Kemp looked up, his keen, rugged face 
puckered with amusement : " Miss Walker might have 
been through the Downing Street mill herself I " 

" Welly I've had something to do with mills and 
mill-hands, you see," said Alice, " and any woman with 
a grain of sympathy or intuition has only to look at 
you poor unfortunate Ministers to realise the awful 
strain it must be to hold the reins of Government " 

" Alice, you're a great deal too flippant for a lady 
at the head of the table. Remember you are represent- 
ing Mother to-night," said her sister, joining in a con- 
versation which promised to be more lively than that 
on her side of the table. 

" Thank you, Helen darling— I'd forgotten." Alice 
turnied again to the Count. " My mother always treats 


the Cabinet as bearers of the whole weight of the 
Empire — so sweet of her, isn't it?" 

"The Empire?" struck in Lady Thistlethwaite, "I 
saw you there last night, Mr. Boulder, and you simply 
wouldn't look at me. You were so taken up with the 
new Delilah. . . ." 

Alice laughed, as she said aside to her neighbour: 
" Lady Thistlethwaite doesn't count the other Empire, 
there is but one for her, you see." 

" Parfaltement! " said the Count. " Delilah has a 
' succes fott ' over here, it appears," he spoke across 
to Lady Thistlethwaite in foreign fashion. *' In Paris, 
no — one requires something more. To be shockin*, that 
is well, up to a certain point— but not enough, see you, 
for the Parisian." 

" You're quite right, Count," said Lady Thistle- 
thwaite, lifting the blue eyes to him approvingly. " I 
don't think she's a patch on Lady Kitty Cravenhawk — 
a charity performance you ought to have seen, at Lady 
Ancashire's last week. She wore rose gauze, nothing 
else. All the men went perfectly mad about her, and I 
can quite understand it. I am going to get her for my 
church bazaar to draw you men — ^you must come — 

" But enchanted, dear Madame "—the Count bowed 
and smiled. 

Sir Charles turned to Mary: "Are you taking part 
in this bazaar?" 

Mary smiled at his serious earnestness. " Oh, no — 
we have a bazaar of our own— but no such attrac- 
tions I '^ 

. Sir Charles gave her no answering smile. He said 
fervently: " I'm glad to hear it— very glad." 

" Glad to hear we have a bazaar?" 

" Glad to hear you have no ladies in rose gauze," 
$aid he curtly. Then a^ain bis eyes rested on her. 


and he asked almost humbly, " May I come to your 

*' Do you really wish to?" Mary could no more 
picture Charles Crompton at' a bazaar than at a Mothers' 
Meeting. He was one of those people whose per- 
sonality requires their own particular niche. 

*• Certainly, or I should not ask " 

" But — you don't know yet whether it is for an object 
you approve. I am one of those * dreadful women,' 
don't forget." She refused to take him seriously. 

•' A Suffragist— I know, but I '" 

" Yes, a Suffragist and a Suffragette too." Mary 

" Surely not a Militant, as they call themselves? 
You must see that their actions only alienate those who 
are true friends to the women's Cause." 

" True friends are not so easily alienated, even if 
they have other methods themselves. As to those who 
are not friends ..." Mary was serious now, in spite 
of herself. He took her up quickly: 

" Don't mistake me, please. Miss O'Neil. I am 
objecting only to the Militants and their violent 
methods. Since we last parted I have gone thoroughly 
into the question of the women's vote, and — well, I—my 
views have changed — it has been a matter of great 
distress to my sister, but there it is — I believe in a 
vote for the propertied woman." 

" I am delighted to hear it "—Mary felt an unholy 
joy as she looked at his sister—" it is one step forward. 
I hope before long you will take another." 

He ignored the little bantering tone. 

" It is a Serious thing to find oneself at variance with 
those of one's own family though— a very unpleasant, 
and I may say, awkward thing." Charles Crompton 
glanced across at his sister in deep converse with Mr. 
Crowley; the letter apparently in the last stages of 


acute boredom, though not yet through the second 

*• I agree with you " — Mary realised he was, after 
all, quite human — " it is the heaviest price we women 
have been called uj>on to pay — finding ourselves in 
opposition to our nearest and dearest — raising a bitter 
hostility, in many cases such as has no comparison with 
any other question, private or public. My brothers and 
I can't speak on the subject at all,'* she went on with 
her usual frank simplicity, ** and we have been such 
close friends all our lives that I can't tell you what it 
means to me. . . . But "—Mary looked at him with 
sudden interest — " do tell me what made you change 
your opinion?" 

•• First the great surprise — I may say, shock " — ^he 
gave an odd little laugh—" of finding you on that side 
— you of all women — and then, the curious arguments 
used by my sister Selina and her friends, who are so 
... so vehemently against it. It obliged me to re- 
construct my views and to inquire more deeply into 
the matter,'* 

•• With the result? '• Mary smiled her old friendly 
smile on him once more — the misleading smile that had 
made him believe heaven within his grasp. ** Well, 
the only logical result when one goes deeply into the 
matter. • . .'• 

" Yes," he agreed, then realising with a start she was 
leading him Heaven alone knew where — " but violence 
and law-breaking can never be right— never, that is, for 
women," he added hastily. " I do most earnestly trust 
that you will never associate yourself with any really 
violent policy. Miss O'Neil. I hoped— I wanted to 
believe we were working for the same object and in 
the same way— and that . • .'* 

" Oh, not in the same way at all, I assure you." 
Mary was taking fright too. " But all ways are good, 


and Tm so glad you have joined the army, though we 
can't be in the same regiment. I'm in the artillery^^ 
you see — you are a gallant lancer I" She was on safe 
ground again. 

" Guns are not made for women's delicate hands." 
Sir Charles looked at her wistfully. She eluded him 

"Delicate hands I" laughed Mary. "The majority 
of our hands/' she glanced at his, " are far less delicate 
than yours, Sir Charles. We are a great army of work- 
ing women. . . • You won't care to come to my bazaar 

He looked straight in front of him— lost in thought. 

"Ah, you seel" She laughed, and he turned half 

" I shall come in hopes of converting you to my 

" Then pray don't come— it would be labour lost." 

"Love's labour lost?" 

Was ever such a foolish, blind, persistent man I 

" It's curious how many people have come to believe 
in Woman's Suffrage by listening to the arguments of 
the Antis,'* remarked Mary, in a pleasant wholly de- 
tached tonej which reduced the unfortunate Charles to 
a state of such hopeless depression he fell an easy 
victim to Mrs. Boulder, who, already tired of her own 
man, had been waiting for an opportunity to annex him. 

Mary, on her side, was soon deep in French forests 
with M. de Launay. She discovered his favourite 
pastime— not the slaying of the wild inhabitants, but 
forestry, the art of keeping their greenwood kingdom. 
Off they went through the length and breadth of Tour- 
aine, where the de Launays once held miles of wonder- 
ful forest-land, and still owned a little " foot of earth." 

In vain did Sir Charles endeavour to recapture his 
lady; he could neither do this nor shake himself free 



from the web off endless small talk woven round 

by Helen Boulder, who imagined him completely under 

her own spell. 

Suddenly the " passing of the angel *' hushed the busy 
human voices. It was but for an almost imperceptible 
instant, and then the clear, decided tones of Mrs. 
Prendergast fearlessly broke the silent pause, and Mary 
left the forests of Touraine and turned to listen to the 
famous traveller. 

*' WeVe been doing grand work the last few months,*' 
she was saying. '* Our league marches on trium- 
phantly! I quote your words constantly, Mr. Boulder, 
and if there's a spark of womanly feeling or true 
patriotism in a woman she comes over to us at once." 

" What words are those, Mrs. Prendergast?" asked 
Mrs. Boulder, always on the alert to dart into the 
middle of another conversation: "Horace lets fall so 
many pearls, you see.*^ 

Mrs. Prendergast turned solemnly to the flighty little 

" I referred to the speech in which Mr. Boulder said 
he believed that to admit Women to the Suffrage would 
mean the inevitable decadence and degradation, not 
only of our national life, but of the race.*^ 

" A golden nugget, certainly,'^ laughed Mrs. Boulder, 
turning again to her neighbour. Sir Charles, whose 
attempt to regain the attention of Mary O'Neil had not 
yet been successful. 

Mrs. Prendergast had no use for the flippant. She 
turned to Joe Hopton and inquired searchingly: 

" Do you not agree with that verdict, Mr. Hopton?" 

Joe's brows were contracted with conflicting thought. 
He paused a Xnoment before he answered : 

"I'm certainly of the opinion that women are best 
out of politics — still " he hesitated, but Mrs. Pren- 
dergast pinned him down instantly: 


*' You are I I thought so. Now, that coining from 
you, Mr. Hopton, interests me deeply ** 

Mary lost Joe's reply in the sudden rising, like a 
tide, of all voices as the subject of Woman's Suffrage 
caught first one and then another, and swept round the 
table, immersing all the company. 

Mr. Weir-Kemp, still firmly held by Miss Crompton, 
raised his voice above the Anti din in evident pro* 
test at her attitude. 

•• Well, but I approve of Woman's Suffrage, you 
know— I don't take your melancholy view," he said, ** I 
even believe that the nation would be, on the whole, 
better and happier for it, though, of course,^ I don't hold 
with the Militant party and their tactics." 

" I sincerely hope you do not," said Miss Crompton. 
" But I'm glad to say our Anti-League's magnificent 
work has practically killed off the whole silly hysterical 

Mr. Weir-Kemp shook his shaggy head. 

" Don't you believe it, my dear lady I It takes a 
lot of killing when you get one Society alone — and, 
mind you, there are thirty at least— giving some fifty 
thousand a year to oil the wheels; none of them rich 
women either, remember. It's a hydra-headed mon- 
ster," he laughed, " the more you clip it the more 
vigorously it crops up, and in the most unexpected 
quarters " ; 

" You mean these insufferable females crop up in the 
most unexpected quarters," sniffed Miss Crompton 
scornfully. It was men like this, she was reflecting, 
whose pusillanimous attitude was really responsible for 
the evil. " Look how they invade your most private 
sanctums " — she would try an& rouse him to a little 
manly feeling—" your most sacred spots. Look at that 
sacrilegious scene in Middleham Churchyard last month I 
There wasn't a paper that was not full of it." 


He actually laughed : " Just so — that was why they 
did it» no doubt—to keep, the matter before the public. 
Advertisement, you seel" 

" Nice kind of advertisement," snapped Miss Cromp- 
ton. " Going to prison for breaking windows is an 
advertisement too, I suppose?" She turned away and 
addressed her friend Noel Crowley, who having been 
sadly neglected by his other neighbour was now quite 
glad to be talked to. 

" Prison is a great deal too good for them," he said 
with energy, " Personally, I'd give them a taste of 
the cat-o*-nine tails. I bet that*ud settle them." 

Joe Hop ton looked across at him. 

" That's queer talk from a man," he muttered to 

Charles Crompton also cast a contemptuous glance 
on Crowley, and murmured aside to Mary O'Neil: 

"Insufferable puppy, that fellow is I" 

Mary said nothing, but her eyes showed a danger- 
ous light, like that of the mother-bird when a hawk is 
in sight. 

** Oh, I do so agree with you, Mr. Crowley,*' went 
on Miss Crompton warmly. " And so few men have 
the courage to say it I Do you know, when ;I was 
lecturing in Japan last winter^ a very intelligent Jap 
said to me • • ." 

But what the " intelligent Jap " said, was nipped in 
the bud by the French Count who, leaning across the 
table, interrupted eagerly, begging that the remedy 
so warmly advocated might be explained to him, for 
this Feministe movement had for him " an enormous 
interest." The " catonninetills," what was it? 

Mr. Crowley was convulsed with laughter; but the 
laughter had an artificial ring, and his manner was a 
trifle over-easy as he answered, his eye-glass cocked 
jauntily in one eye: 


"The cat-o'-nine tailSj Count? The good old lash 
that is — ^ahem,--well> it was a remedy tried with female 
politicians in other and less sentimental times* You 
may remember the present Emperor of Austria found 
it most efficacious with both Hungarian and Italian 
rebel women^ some forty years ago> and I do not 
doubt we should find it equally so with the Suffragette 

Count de Latmay^s expression was enigmatical. He 
wore a bland smile as he asked, turning from Noel 
Crowley to Mr. Boulder: 

" You find it efficacious for your male political rebels? " 

" Oh, ah, well, no» I can't say we propose adopting 
Mr. Crowley's drastic measure for male agitators." 
Mr. Boulder laughed pleasantly. The idea was really 

"Mr. Crowley would not recommend it, I suppose, 
for Mr. Greene and Mr. Browne, for instance?" came 
suddenly from the silent Labour Member— so silent 
he had been almost forgotten. 

"Ha, ha I Capital idea, that I" Sir Godfrey and 
his son-in-law joined in a hearty laugh. 

" We have to be careful how we handle the Irishmen, 
my dear Count,'* shouted Sir Godfrey actoss the table. 

"But not the voteless women I" murmured Mary 
to her neighbour. 

" FidonCf "Messieurs I " The Count looked from one 
to the other in amused surprise. " There exist then 
Englishmen who would even follow the example of a 
barbarous German of forty years ago I So little gallant 
are you in England, that when the ladies ask you for a 
rendezvous, for a vote — piff-paff, you take them by 
the shoulders and conduct them to an ugly prison I And 
this, parblettf even when the woman is young and 
pretty? Fidonc, 1 say, of what are you British made 
to be so brutal?" 


Sir Godfrey took up the defence: 

*' That's all very fine. Count, but what are we to 
do? You in France don't grow this type of woman." 

*' Ah, but yes, we have also our Feministes — they 
have achieved much. Already they become doctors — 
advocates— members of the Institute— and even drivers 
of the fiacres! We make no objections." 

" Oh, my dear Count, there is no comparison • French 
women are quite different. • • ." 

" And without doubt Frenchmen also are quite dif- 
ferent. A Frenchman, he would be capable perhaps 
of kissing a Suffragette, if she were pretty, but nef^re, 
nef^re would he place her in prison. Difference of 
temperament, I suppose." 

" Can you wonder I am against the Militants?" mur- 
mured Sir Charles, aside, to Mary: "this is the kind 
of thing to which they subject themselves and their 

" I don't think, Count, that you can have any idea 
of what our unfortunate Ministers have had to endure 
from these violent, crazy women," said Miss Cromp- 
ton, also hopeful of bringing the Frenchman to a 
better mind. " I assure you, they have been far too 
leniently dealt with by mere imprisonment." 

" They don't care a rap for imprisonment," re- 
marked Crowley with a lisp. 

" Perhaps they do care a good many raps for their 
Cause," said Alice Walker, suddenly screwing herself 
up to boldly break a lance for the Cause. " I wonder 
how many of you Anti-Suffrage men and women would 
go to Holloway jail, in the same class, remember, as 
drunkards and thieves — for your Anti-ism I Now, Mrs. 
Prendergast, and you. Miss Crompton, would your pa- 
triotism go the length of three months in Holloway, 
if by going you could avert what you call. the calamity 
of Women's Suffrage?" 


Sir Charles looked across at his sister. " That is a 
severe test certainly.*' 

" Oh dear^ oh dear^ fancy Alice^ of all people, getting 
serious and plunging into political discussions I How 
foolish, poor darling I" sighed Lady Thistlethwaite to 
Mr. Boulder. 

*' Very foolish/' agreed that gentleman heartily. 
" She will soon lose all her charm if she becomes a 
politician^! think we've had enough of this tiresome 
subject, anyway, don't you?" 

** Well, personally, though I loathe it I can't keep 
off it," laughed his fair neighbour. 

For Mrs. Prendergast also the subject seemed to 
exercise a weird charm. She yearned to enlighten the 
deplorable darkness of the Frenchman. He ought to 
be set right. With this idea she addressed him again, 
and so impressively that other talk automatically lan- 
guished, and most of the party found themselves lis- 
tening and mentally backing one or the other. 

*' Your attitude, Madame, interests me profoundly," 
the Count assured her politely. ** You would, I under- 
stand, refuse to your own sex, the vote? You, who have 
created for yourself a position distinguished and eman- 
cipated. You have climbed even the highest moun- 
tains — is it not so? They tell me also you sit on that 
other mountain height, the Municipal Council?" 

" I have done so ever since my dear husband's 
death," answered Mrs. Prendergast in a tone of suitable 
gloom. " Women may, I consider, legitimately take 
part in municipal affairs, but not in those of Parlia- 
ment, where Imperial and national questions should be 
left to man alone. I would see women functioning 
where Nature intended. Monsieur — in the home, but 
not in the arena of politics, where, while neglecting her 
own duties, she but serves to m^e herself ridiculous. 
Women cannot fight, therefore they have no right to 


a voice in law-making. It may. be primitive, it may 
be elemental, but so is nature, and physical force is, 
after all is said and done, the ultimate basis of law." 

A murmur of applause from the Antis present fol- 
lowed this utterance. Mr. Weir-Kemp and Sir Charles, 
after a strenuous effort to follow the reasoning, gave 
it up, exchanging a befogged look with one another. 

M. de Launay waited like a keen chess player for 
his adversary's hand to leave the board, then nipped 
in alertly. 

" 0A| Idf la^ is it at that point you are still in 
England? Surely, Madame, in that moment when a 
gun superseded a fist, physical force was dethroned by 
the brain? The brain also in its turn must bow before 
the law of moral force. Surely the ultimate basis should 
be the Justice, my good Madame? Would you have us 
still to resemble our ancestors, the savage animals, 
testing our right to rule by the strength of the claw and 
the tooth?" 

Mrs. Prendergast shrugged her shoulders and looked 
towards Mr. Boulder, a look which said : ** Poor gentle- 
man I What is to be done with such forms of lunacy?" 

"Well, I'm glad I wasn't put to the test of tooth 
and claw before they returned me for North Hoven," 
remarked Mr. Weir-Kemp. " Crowley, how would you 
have felt if some of these young Suffragettes from 
Yorkshire had called yott into the ring, eh?" 

" Thank you, Mr. Weir-Kemp, but my art is su- 
perior to their brute force. I have learnt Ju-jitsu," 
replied that young man with sublime equanimity. 

" He's admitting the Count's argument," said Sir 
Charles, aside, to Mary, and was rewarded by the 
twinkle in the soft grey eyes of his divinity. 

Mr. Boulder, though he would gladly have dropped the 
hateful subject, felt, since Mrs. Prendergast had tacitly 
appealed to him, it was encumbent on him not to leave 


the misguided Frenchman in possession of the field. 
Or rather, since he had his feet firmly planted on that 
particular bit of ground, beguile him on to some less 
solid near by. 

" You ^ee, Count/' he said, " it is necessary to dis- 
tinguish between these troublesome, crazy women and 
the well-meaning, though misguided, ladies who form 
the old Suffrage Societies. You must know that be- 
sides breaking every prison rule, smashing their win- 
dows, and biting the wardresses, these Suffragettes have 
now taken to starving themselves. Now, how would 
you deal with that in your gay Paris?'* 

This announcement was received in varying manner, 
according to the temperament of the hearer. Sir God- 
frey blustered angrily. Lady Thistlethwaite lifted blue 
eyes swimming with sympathy to the speaker; the 
Frenchman exclaimed, ''Ma foil " Miss Crompton and 
Mrs. Prendergast uttered exclamations of contemptuous 
scorn, •• Crazy," "unsexed," •'hysterical." Joe Hopton 
looked sullen and depressed; Charles Crompton in- 
credulous, till he caught the ardent light on Mary's 
face. Alice Walker gave a little gasp of horror as 
she turned to Mr. Weir-Kemp— " Not really?" she 

*' Yes, it is a fact," he said. " We had to release 
four to-day who had refused all food for over five 
days and were naturally in a precarious condition in 

" Refused all food for five days I '* cried the Count, 
in a very burst of enthusiasm. *' But it is heroic I It 
is folly if you will— but sublime folly I . • • And the 

Mr. Crowley dashed in where his betters hesitated to 

" The motive? Cussedness, Count — to put it in one 
expressive word." 


" They only do it to annoy, because they know it 
teases/' chirped Helen Boulder, no longer able to 
stand the strain of so much serious talk; and Mr» 
Boulder gladly turned with her into shallower and 
pleasanter waters. 

•• No, but seriously," the Count insisted. '* Why 
do they inflict on themselves this torture?** 

•• Oh, on the grounds,*' answered Sir Godfrey, " if 
you please, of a protest against being put in the 
second division." 

"Of course, you see it pays," observed Miss Cromp- 
ton. " They get let out at the end of five days instead 
of serving their proper term." 

" Cunning jades — I'd not let them out. Td double 
the sentence," lisped Noel Crowley. 

Mr. Weir-Kemp gave him a look that should have 
blighted him for life. " But that wouldn't make these 
women give in, and we can't have them dying on our 
hands," he said. 

Mrs. Prendergast turned suddenly on her silent 

" Now, I should like to know what you would do 
with them, Mr. Hopton? They are a great many of 
them women from your part of the world, I believe — 
North-Country ' ' 

Sir Godfrey heard the question and added: 

" Yes, now let us hear your views, Mr. Hopton?" 

Joe Hopton looked as though he would have pre- 
ferred keeping them locked up in his own breast, but 
he answered slowly and sternly: 

"I'm not in favour of women meddling with a man's 
job — and governing the country is a man's job . . . 
but all the same . . ." 

"Hear, hear I That's sound," cried his host en- 
couragingly . • • Well ? ' ' 

Joe's mouth hardened as he went on, his voice 


growing more dotninanty and ever less suitable for a 
dinner party: 

" But I can*t help saying that accordin' to my view, 
all political prisoners, whether male or female and of 
whatsoever class, have a right to claim first division 

" Quite so, quite so," agreed Mr. Boulder with a 
genial smile, " but that's just the point— these women 
are not political prisoners, you see " 

" They're street brawlers," said Mrs. Prendergast, 
with quiet insistence. 

" You see, Mr. Hopton," explained Sir Godfrey in 
his downright and no nonsense tones, " if you have no 
political status and no civil rights, you can't possibly 
be qualified as a political prisoner, according to law. 
If a small boy breaks my windows, declaring himself to 
be a Russian Nihilist, I punish him as a naughty, mis- 
chievous boy, not as a political prisoner. It's the 
same with these women." 

" Perfectly logical," supplemented Miss Crompton, 
thereby, as she knew, earning the approval of her host — 
no nonsense about her either. 

Joe Hopton looked from one to the other, his soul 
protesting yet finding no fit words. 

" I am surprised to hear that is really so — I must 
honestly say I'd heard it from the women themselves 
and always denied it." He spoke hesitatingly. In 
this smart dining-room he was a fish out of water, and 
could not strike out with his usual bold, free stroke. 

" Live and learn, live and learn, Mr. Hopton," cried 
Sir Godfrey, his good humour quite restored; " that 
is a golden precept for the wisest among us." 

Again the Count's voice was heard in a laudable 
desire for information on this, to him, most typical 
and characteristic English movement. 

" And your men in England, they do not resent their 


wives and sisters being placed in prison with the second 
class of thieves and drunkards? That is so interesting — 
with us in France^ I assure you, ladies and gentlemen, 
if the Government treated so our women, the whole 
population would be indignant to the point of a revolu- 

*' Difference of temperament, as you said jusf now. 
Count," said Alice with a look at her brother-in-law, 
who, deep in converse with Lady Thistlethwaite, was 
affecting not to hear. 

Again Mrs. Prendergast made a manful attempt td 
enlighten the wrong-headed Frenchman. She leant 
forward and pleaded the cause of the men of the 

" Pray, Monsieur, do not think that these women 
represent the women our men are bound to respect and 
do respect, I am proud to say. Englishmen are ever 
just and chivalrous when rightly appealed to. This 
is a case of ' much cry and little wool ' made by a 
handful of idle hysterical women. The women who 
matter, the serious workers of the country, are all 
against Woman Suffrage, let me tell you." 

Mary gave Alice a look— a look signifying she really 
could not bear much more. Alice replied with a 
quick sign of comprehension and, rather breathless, 
herself rushed to pick up the gauntlet Mrs. Prendergast 
had flung down. 

" I suppose you would be very much surprised if 
you knew that as many as a quarter of a million work- 
ing women wanted the vote as much as ever their 
fathers and husbands wanted it, Mrs. Prendergast?" she 
asked in her clear, ringing young voice; her pink 
cheeks and blue eyes very bright. 

Mrs. Prendergast's eyebrows went up in an arch of 
surprise at this onslaught from so unexpected a quarter. 

" I should, indeed, my dear Miss Walker. I should 


feel not only that the world was coming to an end, but 
that it was highly to be desired it should do so/' sho 
answered, somewhat tartly. 

Sir Godfrey looked seriously annoyed. 

*' I think my daughter seems to have got a bee in 
her bonnet. A quarter of a million I A quarter of a 
hundred more like. But that's just the way women 
distort and exaggerate/' he blustered. 

" Women's ideas of figures and numbers are always 
somewhat quaint/' remarked Mr. Boulder indulgently. 

Through the dining-room door, left just ajar, Alice 
had perceived a girl's figure. She took a white orchid 
from the vase in front of her and held it up an instant,* 
saying somewhat irrelevantly, but very clearly, " Oh, 
it's all right." 

Whereupon the girl outside quickly entered the 
dining-room and took up her stand just behind the 
Right Hon. Horace Boulder. Parkins at the moment 
had his back turned, being occupied with the cham- 
pagne. In her hands Jenny carried a big roll on a 
tray. She fixed watchful eyes on the face of Alice Walker. 

*' Horace, there is a girl here, a friend of mine, who 
has something with very quaint figures which I wish 
you would look at?" said Alice, leaning forward and 
speaking quietly, but with rising colour. 

" Really? Where is the lady? You are always full 
of quaint surprises, Alice," said her brother-in-law. 

Jenny came instantly to his side, holding out the 

" I beg you will look at this Petition, sir, it is • . ." 
she began, but he turned with a start: 

" What's this?" he said sharply, and putting up his 
eye-glass to examine the roll. " A quarter of a million 
signatures? Hal Votes for Women^ indeed I . . . My 
dear Alice, is this a joke?" 

" Forgive me, please — everybody. No, Horace, it is 


very sober earnest this time. Do just hear what she 
has to say?" Alice Walker was horribly nervous by 
now, for several of her guests had stopped talking, 
and were looking round in surprised interest. 

"This is most original I Votes for Women?" cried 
M. de Launay, enchanted at this new diversion. 

Sir Godfrey, taken up with his neighbour, pretty 
little Mrs. Weir-Kemp, to whom he was recounting at 
length the history of an " Old Master " he had bought 
from a clergyman's widow as a rare bargain, suddenly 
became aware of the intruder. 

Mrs. Weir-Kemp had seen and heard all, though her 
attention had never wavered. She was silent as a china 
ornament, which she closely resembled, but a good 
listener, and to all old men, therefore, a charming woman. 

Sir Godfrey broke off with a gasp as his eye lit on 
Jenny standing at the back of Mr. Boulder's chair: 

" Parkins,'^ he shouted, " Parkins, who is that 
woman? What right has she here?" 

Parkins made a movement forward, and then as 
quickly retreated, gasping: "Oh Lord, oh Lord, 'ave 
mercy upon us I William I George I' ^ 

He appealed in vain. The two wax statues remained 
immovable, flanking the sidebx>ard. No muscle of their 
faces twitched — only the epaulettes on their shoulders 
quivered slightly. 

" Father, I know her — she's all right — ^she has some- 
thing very interesting to show us," Alice said cheerfully. 

" My dear Alice, have you taken leave of your 
senses?" spluttered her father angrily. "Who is this 

" A friend of mine— and of Mary's," she added with 
a happy inspiration, knowing her father's partiality 
for her cousin. 

There was now a dead silence. All eyes were fixed 
on Jenny Clegg, standing there in the shawl and clogs 
of the mill. 


" Jenny I " cried Mary, in unfeigned astonishment^ 
as Jenny, turned and the light fell full on her face. 

•* Jenny Cleggl" muttered Joe Hopton between his 
teeth. He had longed for the sight of her every day 
since they parted — ^but he would rather have seen her 
behind prison bars than here at this moment. 

"Aunt Lydia*5 New Woman I" half shrieked Lady 
Thistlethwaite in genuine alarm. 

Sir Godfrey rose majestically and thundered forth: 

" Parkins, conduct this person downstairs — Parkins I " 

The butler, yellow with fear, his knees shaking and 
knocking together, came forward. 

" Yes, sir— yes, sir. Oh dear, oh dear, how did she 
ever get in?*' he groaned, not yet having recognised the 
intruder in her new guise. 

Mr. Boulder came gallantly to the rescue, and even 
Alice felt grateful to him. 

" Since this person is your daughter's friend. Sir 
Godfrey, pray, do let hec explain her reason for. 
coming here," he said. 

" What an outrageous affair I" exclaimed Mrs. Pren- 

"One is never safe I" sighed Miss Crompton. 

" Ah, but this is most profoundly interesting," cried 
the Count. 

" Speak, womaUj and be quick about it," shouted Sir 

So Jenny spoke. 

" You doubt that the working woman wants the 
vote, gentlemen? I am a Lancashire mill-hand • This 
Petition is signed by a quarter of a million working 
women like myself, and represents more than another 
quarter of a knillion . . ." 

* • Alice, this is preposterous I 1 1 's — it 's. — damn- 
able " interrupted Sir Godfrey. 

" I know it is. Father— but as she is here, do let her 
show this curious document, proving what you all re- 


fused to believe/' pleaded his daughter. *' She w^n't 
be a minute — go on, Jenny/' 

" What rubbish these things are — I could get twice 
that number of signatures against it/* observed Mrs. 
Prendergast to her volcanic host, thereby producing 
another explosion. 

Helen Boulder shook with laughter, half hysterical 
it must be owned, as she murmured, " Oh, Alice, what 
will Mother say I you naughty girl, you.** 

" All we hold dear is at stake," Jenny went on 
eagerly, addressing Mr. Boulder but appealing to all 
the company. " Your laws of Parliament are coming 
right inside our homes. We want to have a voice in 
our own work, what we will do, and what we won't — 
in our own children— how they shall be fed and edu- 
cated—we want a mother to be counted as a parent 
to the child she has borne and raised *' 

''Rather premature discourse from a young girl I" 
ejaculated Mrs. Prendergast. 

" Damnable folly," spluttered Sir Godfrey. 

" She speaks well. Continuez^ ma pUe^^ said the 
Count encouragingly. 

" And one thing, gentlemen,*' Jenny raised her voice 
and looked round the table, sparkling with its silver 
and glass and flowers, and at the brilliant company; 
she knew these would be her last words to-night. 
" We don't want any women or girls to be so crushed 
down by economic conditions that they are driven on 
to the streets to keep from starving, as thousands now 
are whose pay is five shillings a week " 

Sir Godfrey sprang to his feet, and a murmur of 
indignation hummed in the air like the whizzing of on- 
coming bullets. 

" Well; Helen, yoa must stop this, as Alice won*t. 
I insist— the thing is preposterous— indecent '* 

Again Mr. Boulder with a ministerial movement of 


the hand cahned his agitated father-in-law: "Pardon 
me, Sir Godfrey, may I say one word to this repre- 
sentative of the Suffragettes?" 

Sir Godfrey sat down bubbling and foaming, but 
he gave in again : 

" Do, and let us make an end of this scene, for which 
I apologise heartily to my outraged guests." 

" But, on the contrary — nothing could be more in- 
teresting," the Count assured his host. 

Mr. Boulder turned round and addressed the in- 
truder standing quietly and composedly at his side. 

" My good girl, you and your friends are not in a 
position to judge these matters. Women's Suffrage 
is not the panacea for all evils, as you seem to thinks 
The Suffrage is a very intricate, complicated question, 
beyond the grasp of most men even, and the conse- 
quences of Women's Suffrage would be vast and far- 
reaching in their mischievous results. You could not 
understand this had I the time to go into it, but I 
will just direct your attention to this significant fact — 
wherever women have been allowed to vote, the experi- 
ment has proved a signal failure. In Australia, Nor- 
way, and Finland all right-thinking women desire to 
abolish it. In America the agitation is dead— stone 
dead— and in New Zealand, as the Premier of that 
country told us at the Albert Hall meeting the other 
day, it has proved only a disappointment." 

" But surely the Premier of New Zealand testified to 
the unqualified success of Women's Suffrage? I was 
there and heard him I" said Mary O'Neil, aside, to 
Charles Crompton. 

" Yes — but Mr. Boulder only read the Press reports, 
you see," he answered quietly. 

" Women, had they a vote," went on Mr. Boulder, 
" would never restrict their influence to the home, and 
wiser heads than yours, my good girl, will tell you that 


woman's influence in Imperial matters would be noth- 
ing short of national disaster. That being so, we who 
hold the reins of Government will never, mark my^ 
words, never listen to your clamour for the vote. We 
have the welfare of the country too much at heart.*'* 
He turned, and resumed an interrupted conversation 
with Lady Thistliethwaite. 

" Admirable r^ said one voice. 

" Hear, hear I" said another. 

'* Men are men and women are women. Until you 
can change that fact women will never have the vote,*^ 
pronounced Mrs. Prendergast conclusively. 

" For that reason we demand it. If women were 
inferior to men we shouldn't want it," retorted Mary. 

'• Aye, that's just it," Jenny added warmly. 

•• Come, be off with you," Sir Godfrey ordered in 
thundering tones. " Not another word — you've had 
your answer. A far more forbearing one than I should 
have given you. Parkins, put that thing in the fire 
at once." He pointed to the Women's Petition on the 
table. Parkins darted forward, rolling it up with evi- 
dent terror, lest it should explode. 

Jenny followed him anxiously: 

" Please let me have it, Mr. Parkins?" 

But Parkins heeded her not, and the voice of his 
master followed him as he stumbled out of the room : 

" Have that thing burnt at once, do you hear. Par- 

" Yes, sir, yes, sir," answered the unhappy man. 

Suddenly, above the excited chorus of a dozen voices, 
sounded the ring and clang of the fire brigade, and the 
approaching gallop of horses. 

Mrs. Boulder was the first to hear it. 

"Listen I A fire I How awful I What are they 
shouting?" she said to Sir Charles. 

" I think it must be a fire," be answered, 


The word fire lit up round the table as if by electri- 
city. And now, with a clatter, by dashed the! fire bri- 
gade. There was no mistake about it now. Voices 
shouted outside. A crowd had gathered. 

"A fire I Good Heavens I where can it be?'* Sir 
Godfrey started up, and several of his guests rushed 
to the window with him. 

'• There's a crowd already— the police are collecting 
in great numbers. It must be quite near/' cried Miss 
Crompton in subdued excitement^ her dramatic instincts 
on the alert for copy. 

"Don't go outside, Horace," said his wife nervously. 
" We can see better from the balcony. Let us all go 

Alice took a swift glance out of the window and 
whispered something to Mary O'Neil. They exchanged 
a meaning smile and hastened with the rest upstairs. 

"It is no doubt the Anarchists who cause an incen- 
diary," remarked the Count pleasantly, as he joined 
Mrs. Boulder on the balcony. 

In a moment the dining-room was deserted except 
for Joe Hopton. He looked out of the window, then 
opening it wide, leant out and called to a passing 
policeman. The answer he received produced from 
Joe a shout of laughter. I 

"No fire at all. • . • Ha, ha I Suffragettes did 
you say? — Suffragettes as firemen I Announcing Albert 
Hall meeting for to-morrow? Well, upon my life, 
what will they do next I I must go and see how my 
right honourable friends upstairs take this." 

Joe shut down the window and walked thoughtfully 



Jenny had duly paved the way for her departure 
that evening. It was understood in the servants* hall 
that domestic affairs obliged her immediate return 
home. As a fact Jenny had made no confidences to 
anyone of any sort, and she had told them nothing at 
home, except that she had taken a temporary place as 
housemaid ' at Sir Godfrey Walker's London house. 
She realised that after exploding her bomb there would 
of course be nothing left but to quit immediately. To 
face the German housekeeper, the disillusioned Parkins, 
and the servants' hall, even supported by the two foot- 
men, was not advisable at this juncture. Parkins* in- 
coherent description of what had taken place in the 
dining-room had caused the wildest excitement, but the 
fact that " Miss Alice ** had stuck by the preposterous 
housemaid made even the German housekeeper regard 
her with interest not unmingled with respectful dread. 

'* In Chairmany alzo we 'ave does vinmions/' she 
infonned Parkins, *' dee out sides of 'em is jest goot 
blain gurls— dee insides of 'em is ready for blut unt 
death, I dell you." 

Parkins shuddered as he answered: 

•• Don't enlarge, I beg of you, Mrs. Schneider— my 
nerves, and I may add my susceptibilities, 'ave received 
a severe shock— as ^o the Master, I feared an apoplectic 
fit for 'im— 'is colour was hawful." 



" Noting don^ surprize me nowadays, Mr. Parkins. 
Mind vere you sit down — she likely left some bombs 
about^ for all she say goot-bye to me so bleasant." 

Parkins jumped up with alacrity and took a look 
under his chair before cautiously reseating himself. 

'* Is she gone yet?'* he inquired nervously. 

" She*s gone up to dress — said she'd be leafing before 
de zooper/' Mrs. Schneider observed soothingly. 

Meanwhile Jenny changed her mill-clothes for the 
ubiquitous coat and skirt, and packed her few belong- 
ings into a small tin trunk, preparatory to leaving that 
evening. She had just descended to the basement with 
the intention of making her peace if possible with 
the outraged Parkins, by a few words of explanation 
and apology, when a ring at the back door and the 
sound of a familiar voice inquiring for Miss Jenny 
Clegg, made her dart forward eagerly. 

•• Peter? Why, Peter lad, sure it's never you," she 
cried, her joyful surprise quickly turning to apprehen- 
sion as she saw the look on his face. 

'* Come in here," she said, taking his arm and lead- 
ing him into a little room just off the servants' hall. 
•• It's a mercy you caught me — I was just going." 

Peter looked round the room nervously as she shut 
the door. * 

" I'm thankful," he said. " Can we be quiet 'ere a 
few minutes?" 

" Yes, surely we can. For God's sake, lad, tell me 
quick what's brought you? You're white as a sheet. 
Is Mother dead?" Jenny leant against the back of a 
chair, her own face nearly as white as Peter's. 

" Nay— it's wor'sn that, Jenny." The words came 
as though strangling him. " Death's not a thing to go 
crazy over. There's times as death's a blessin'. Gawd 
knows " 

" Worse?" Jenny looked at his drawn face in great 


fear for this brother, so many years her special care 
and charge. 

" Oh, tell me quick, for God*s sake, Peter. I can't 
bear this suspense — here, take a drink a' water.*' She 
caught sight of a jug of water and glasses on a shelf 
and quickly poured him out a draught, which he drank 
at a gulp. Then with a jerk he brought out almost 
inaudibly : 

••It's Maggie I •• ! 

"Maggie?" echoed Jenny in amazement, " what- 
ever 's wrong with Maggie?" She would involuntarily 
have felt relieved had it not been for the unaccountable 
anguish of Peter's face. 

•• She's took up— for . Oh, I cawn't tell yo'," he 

groaned, sinking into a chair and covering his face 
with his toil-stained hands. 

Jenny's eyes and voice were full of sympathy as she 
put her hand on his shoulder. 

"Took up?" she repeated. "Oh, Peter— has she 
got into trouble?'^ 

" Aye— trouble, indeed," he smswered dully. Then, 
standing up, he clenched his fists, speaking in low 
tones of concentrated fury: 

" It's a foul devil 'as wrought it, I tell yo', Jenny 
—a damned devil. Maggie's bin took to prison for 
murderin' 'er child an' tryin' to drown 'erself— now 
you've got it." 

" Her child? " gasped Jenny. " You never mean ? " 

Peter nodded his head, then turned away from his 
sister's searching, questioning eyes, feeling in his own 
soul the full weight of poor Maggie's burden of shame, 
of such fine metal was his love. 

" But why ever should she do such a thing, poor 
lass? You'd a- wedded .her, J'U wager, child or no 
child," said Jenny warmly. 

Peter dropped down on the chair again wearily. 


" Aye, sure I would— an' she mun a-knaw*d it/' he 

Jenny's soul was .wrung with pity. Gradually the 
full import of .this tragedy was unfolding itself before 

" Oh, poor Maggie—poor Maggie/' she groaned. 
Then another thought struck her with a new fear : 

" Listen, Peter — Joe's here to-night." 

•• 'Ere?" cried Peter, looking up quickly, "wotcher 

" Joe's been dining here with all the grand folk up- 
stairs," Jenny answered quickly. " We must get hold 
of him and break this to him— he mustn't see it in the 

Peter's mind clutched at a thought of rescue. 

" Wo knaws but th' gran' folk might 'elp save 'er. 
Go, fetch 'im quick, Jenny, for Gawd's sake," he cried 
with sudden energy. 

Jenny opened the door and listened a moment at the 
foot of the stairs. She returned to Peter: 

" SchI Wait a minute— I hear some of the gentle- 
men in the entrance-hall — they're going out. There's 
a din with the Suffragettes in the street." 

" No — it's a fire," said Peter. " I see the brigade as 
I come along, wi' a crowd o' perlice foUerin'." 

" It's no fire," said Jenny. " It's the Suffragettes 
as firemen, callin' out ' Votes for Women,' and an- 
nouncing the Albert Hall meeting. Now, you wait 
here and I'll see if I can't get hold of someone to fetch 

She succeeded in catching George, on his way to the 
pantry. He put himself at once at her service, with' 
the result that Peter was asked to step up inunediately. 
into a small ante-room off the dining-room. Jenny fol- 
lowed, eluding observation, and George kept watch 
that no one should disturb them. 


"Peter CleggI" cried Joe in astonishment, as he 
entered. He had been told merely that " someone " 
had called .with an urgent message for him. " Why, 
what brings you here? Come for Jenny, I hope I'* 

Peter took his outstretched hand in silence, while 
Jenny came forward, her voice trembling: 

" Joe — Peter's just ' told me some terrible sad 
news " 

•• Aye," took up Peter with an effort, " I little 
thawt to see yo' here, Joe 'Opton— but it concarns 
you too." 

" Mel What is it, man, speak out, can't you?" Joe 
had no patience with circumlocutions. The irritation in 
his tone took effect. 

•• It's Maggie— yo' sister— that's w'o 'tis," answered 
Peter darkly. 

Joe started, and an angry flush spread over his face. 
The lively, pretty, little half-sister was very dear to 
him, though their Uves were .now of necessity so far 

'* Maggie? What d'you mean? What's wrong with 
my sister Maggie?" He looked searchingly from Peter 
to Jenny, and the latter answered tremulously: 

*' Poor Maggie's got into trouble — terrible trouble, 
Joe — that's why we sent for you, so as you should hear 
before you saw it in the papers." 

" In the papers?" cried Joe, really alarmed now. 
"Why the devil can't you say what you mean?" he 
turned angrily on Peter. 

" Aye, sure — it's no worse for 'im nor it is for me, 
Jenny. I luv the girl mor'n all the brothers in crea- 
tion, though she wouldn't look at me — Maggie's tuk up 
for killin' 'er child an' tryin' tcS drown 'erself." 

Joe clutched the back of a chair. 

" Maggie? Killing her child? A child?" he stam- 
mered. "Not my sister Maggie?" Then with sudden 


fury: ** How dare anyone say it I How do you know?" 
He turned again on Peter. 

•• It wus all over Greyston lars' nect," said Peter 
gloomily. " I went off to the prison where they've 
locked 'er up and won* let a soul cum nigh 'er. I 
prowled aroun' the walls most o' the neet, till a bobby 
made me move on. . • .*' 

••W'o's the man?" Joe interrupted fiercely; '* 111 
know w*o the man is.*' 

•• 'Er master— that's w'o it is," Peter ground out 
between clenched teeth. " She wrote a letter, say in' 
'twas 'e when she tried to drown 'erself. Aye, she'd 
a done better t' a wed me," he added bitterly, " but 
that devil just turned 'er 'ead." 

" 'Er master?" cried Joe, choking, " Ladbrook 'im- 
self I The damned scoundrel I " 

" 'Er master?" echoed Jenny. " Who'd 'ave thought 
it possible I Why, he's the father of a family — got a 
wife too — ^and must be fift^." 

" That doan't mak' no difference to they sort o' 
bla 'guards," said Peter. " Curse 'im — I olez mistrusted 
them folk she was with. You mind when Maggie cum 
over in the motor that time, Jenny, when I was laid 
up an' niver thawt to be no better?" 

Joe was pacing to and fro. He stopped abruptly,, 
interrupting Peter's talk with vehemence: 

" I'll have 'is life— the foul-living hound. 'E shan't 
go scot-free as the man mostly does— 'I'll be 'is judge 
and jury — I'll learn 'im so that 'e'U never forget, that 
when he ruins a girl 'e's got a man to reckon with— I 
don't mind if I swing for it." 

" Aye, but it's Maggie we'm got to think of too," 
said Peter. " She's got to be saved, cost what it may. 
Think what's ahead of 'er?" he cried, striking his 
forehead as though the vision of that future had burnt 
itself into his brain. 


" Oh^ however did she cum to kill the child?" Jenny, 
burst out with it in spite of herself. 

Peter turned on her with a tender jealousy^ more like 
that of a mother than a lover. 

'* She writ as she done it for the best. She cudn*t 
bear to lave the puir little thing, an' she cudn*t face 
life knawin* wot wus before 'er. She wur crazed wi' 
pain, an* fear, an' shame, puir lass — ^an' the water 
seemed the on'y way out for both of 'em." 

Joe realised something so big in Peter's love, his 
own was fain to stand aside, hat in hand. 

" Aye, the only way out," he agreed with a set face, 
as Maggie's suffering rose before him out of Peter's 
woe. " If she'd gone home, 'er parents would'a shut 
the door in 'er face — ^not 'er mother, p'raps, but she 
could a' done nothing against her father. Smith is a 
hard man and very proud. He'll feel the disgrace so 
it'll fair kill 'im. Come to think of it, where could she 
go— -her character gone I" 

" Better 'ave let 'er die at once than bring 'er back 
just to torture 'er," said Peter bitterly. " She w'q 
wouldn't 'arm a fly, 'anged for murder I" 

" No — no, Peter," Jenny interposed quickly: " thank 
God, they never do that nowadays — those awful times 
are past— a woman's book stopped that " 

*• Aye, but she's got to be tried for murder," Peter 
took her up gloomily; '* the p'lice tawld me so — the 
judge'U put on 'is black cap an' preneaunce sentence 
o' death over 'er— an' she'll believe it." 

Jenny shuddered and covered her face with her 
hands, "Oh, poor Maggie I No, no. We must save 
'er— we will." 

" Maybe they'll let 'er deaun easier when they knaws 
she went nigh drownin' 'erself, puir lass?" Peter, 
looked towards Joe for corroboration of this hope. 
But Joe shook his head gloomily. 


" Not they— a girl's not free to drown 'erself, though 
they'll put 'er in such a fix she can't live '* 

** An' a man may kick his wife to death in a drunken 
fit, like Bill Smithers done last year, an' they giv' 'im 
six munsl" cried Peter bitterly. 

"It's monstrous! It's iniquitous/' burst out Joe 
Hopton, with renewed fury, " \6 treat a young girl 
crazed with fear an' the agony of child-bearin', worse, 
far worse, than the drunken murderer who kills 'is wife. 
Such laws disgrace a civilised land I" 

"Oh, why are men so senseless, so cruel?" cried 
Jenny. " We've got to get such laws changed." 

" Aye, an* while you'm changin' laws, they're killin' 
Maggie," said Peter, looking hopelessly from one to 
the other: " oh, if only I cud get word to 'er as I'll 
wait for 'er an' wed 'er sune as they let 'er out I" 

"Let her out?" repeated Joe, ignoring the rest, 
which indeed had no meaning for him at the moment. 
" Let her out? After years and years of penal servi- 
tude! What'U she come out? She'll never come out, 
or so changed if she does, it won't be Maggie." 

Jenny stood up between them, a new resolve and 
steady purpose in her face: 

" Joe — Peter — we must go at once and tell Mrs. 
Wilmot. She'll help— she'll think of something. She'll 
rouse all England if she's the mind. She's thousands 
of women ready to follow wherever she leads the way 
— aye, and men too. She hasn't lived these ^twenty 
years in Bethnal Green for nothing." 

" What will she do? What can any woman do? — 
they've not even got a vote," sighed Peter despair- 

" She's giving her life to get that boon for women, 
and she'll win it, and this too. How, I can't say, but I 
know it, so don't let us despair." 

" Cawn't these Parleymint men o' yourn do nawt to 


'elp, Joe/' asked Peter, doubtful not of the will, but 
of the power, of Jenny's Mrs. Wilmot. 

"Boulder or Blatherton?" Joe's tone held a bitter 
scorn. "You don't know 'em I They've no time to 
waste over a poor workin' girl. Why, a girl don't 
count so much as one o' their horses or dogs — not by. 
a long shot. No, if anything can be done," he said, 
with slow conviction, " it's Jenny's women we've got 
to look to in this business." 

" Yes, Joe, you're right," said Jenny. " It's only 
women can help women, and we've woke up to know 
it at last— we'll save Maggie." 

" I must go to-night an' break it to her father and 
my poor mother. It'll be a terrible blow," said Joe, 
preparing to go. 

" Yes," said Jenny, " and while you do that, Peter 
and I iwill go at once to Mrs. Wilmot and tell her you'll 
be round to see her to-morrow. Good night, Joe." 
Jenny held out her hand. " Keep a brave heart," she 
added» and her eyes held his for a moment, sending 
with that look all she left unsaid. Joe clasped her 
hand, that strong, capable little hand. He let it go 

" Good night, Jenny— God bless you," he stam- 

And as he watched her disappear down the back 
stairs with Peter he repeated to himself with slow con- 
viction : 

" Aye— it's only women can help women." 



The Movement ^vas growing and spreading its branches 
out far and wide. Every variety of bird began to 
find home and shelter beneath these branches — ^this was 
the living Tree of Life for which those in the desert, 
parched and thirsty, had been longing, towards which 
they had been half unconsciously journeying. In vain the 
Powers-that-Be, *' dressed in their little brief authority, 
played such fantastic tricks *' with the laws of equity as 
" made the angels weep.*' The Tree had life, an 
appalling amount of life, they conceded with dismay. 
The roots struck downwards so deep into the very heart 
of humanity, that lopping away the branches and muti- 
lating the leaves and blossoms had no effect, except that 
of causing new shoots to spring forth with renewed 

Jenny Clegg, Mrs. Toppin, and Mary O'Neil, to- 
gether with fifteen other women, had been arrested and 
sentenced, some to six, some eight weeks, in the second 
division, for holding a protest meeting outside the 
grim walls of a Midland county jail, where some of 
their companions were^ they considered, undergoing 
a most unjust sentence. The public at this meeting had 
shown the authorities how dangerously sympathy with 
the Women's Cause was increasing. Again they had 
recourse to hacking away at the branches, and again 
with the result of strengthening the roots of the tree 
they desired to destroy. 



It was six o'clock of a chill November morning. 
During the night it had frozen hard^ and now the snow 
was falling, though as yet it was too early for the 
prisoners inside their dark cells to get a glimmer of 
anything outside. 

The wardress had been her rounds and lit the feeble 
gas-jet which gave barely sufficient light to enable 
Jenny to get up and put on her clothes. With bones 
aching and teeth chattering, she did her best to wash 
with the small tin of icy water and scrap of a cloth 
which, for one week, had to do duty as the only towel. 

But Jenny's calm cheerfulness was in no way affected 
by her depressing surroundings. She gave a whimsical 
look as she put on the heavy clumping shoes, and spoke 
aloud. To hear a pleasant, friendly voice, though her 
own, took off the feeling of loneliness. " Now for 
my Cinderella slippers I Seems a pity they can't make 
them so as not to wear such holes in your feet. It's, 
so hard on those poor old dames in the exercise yard." 

She sighed thoughtfully as she put on her dress and 
apron stamped with the universal broad arrow: "It 
has become a symbol — this broad arrow— almost like 
the cross to some of us," she said softly. 

Before putting on the prison cap she held it up 
critically : 

" The French girl, Charlotte Corday, wore such a 
cap I Well, of course, it wasn't so ugly— but somehow 
I never put this on without thinking of her, and what 
Father Petre said about her. What a wonderful spirit 
she had I Without a thought of herself— just giving 
her life for her country. Makes one feel very small 
to think of her. Fancy what she must have gone 
through, a sweet, gentle lady like her, before she made 
up her mind for such a deed and such a death as she 
knew must follow I" 

Having finished ber toilet, Jenny proceeded to make 


her bed; rolling up the bed-clothes on the shelf, and 
fastening the bed up sideways against the wall. She 
had hardly finished this when from the adjoining cell 
came a faint sound, like the notes of a call. 

Jenny darted to the corner from where the sound 
came. Kneeling on the floor she put her ear where 
the hot-water pipe passed through the wall. Again 
came the notes of a call, the prison greeting of the 
Suffragettes : 

" No sur-ren-der/' to the chimes of Big Ben. 

Jenny gave the answering chimes : 

"No sur-ren-derl Good morning. How are you, 
dear Miss O'Neil?" 

'* Splendid — only longing for a breath of fresh air, 
aren't you?" came the voice of Mary O'Neil. 

" We must all go at the Governor again to-day,** 
sang out Jenny. " Three days without air for speak- 
ing a few words at exercise isn't what political offenders 
ought to put up with — we've got to protest." 

*• You're right, Jenny— we must protest. If he re- 
fuses to listen we must break our windows to-day, I 

•• Yes," said Jenny firmly. " You fix the time with 
the others on your side — the wardresses dinner-hour, 
you know — I'll pass it on to Mrs. Toppin." 

"AH right," said Mary. •' The signal 'No sur- 
render.' *• 

" Yes—then all together with a crash. It's the only 
way to show we're in earnest," said Jenny. 

" Deeds not words," replied the voice through the 
wall. " Hope I'll see you at the pump, Jenny." 

" Hope so," answered Jenny — •* it's the only thing to 
cheer one for the day now chapel and exercise are 

She got up and knelt down at the wall opposite : 

"Mrs. Toppin I No sur-ren-derl'* 


•* Top o* the mornin' to yo', Jenny Clegg," answered 
the vigorous tones of Keziah Toppin. " No surrender, 
not whilst I've got a kick left." 

" Be ready to break your window, then-— 111 pass you 
the signal at the dinner-hour." 

" My little shoe's ready/' answered the breezy voice. 

" We need to let in a bit of air and light/' said 
Jenny, as she got up and returned to her morning duties. 

*' Now to polish up the family plate." She gave 
her funny little smile as she took down the tin plate, 
mug and basin from the shelf. '* Good thing I learnt 
something from Mr. Parkins — ^he'd be proud if he 
could see how well I'm doin' this for His Majesty." 

Through the little eyelet-hole in the door a glittering 
hawk's eye watched her. But Jenny talked on quite 
unconsciously, cheering herself with the sound of her 
own voice. 

Presently, with a harsh turning of the key, the door 
was flung open, and the wardress entered, dumping 
down an empty pail with an angry clatter. 

''Talking to yerself again, Number Seventeen I I 
never knew such magpies as you Suffragitts. Get on 
with yer work now, and 'old yer jaw." 

" Yes, I believe you're right," said Jenny quietly, 
" we've talked enough." 

"Talked enough, indeed— Impudence I Come, look 
sharp and fetch yer water and scrub out yer cell — any 

This question was a matter of form the wardress 
was bound to go through, for if a prisoner desired 
to see the doctor or Governor now was the only time 
in the day when such a request might be made. It 
was rare that anyone found courage to answer anything 
save a perfunctory " No, thank you." Great was the 
wardress's disgust, therefore, when Number Seventeen 
answered composedly; 


" If you please. I'll be glad to see the doctor and 
also the Governor.'* 

The wardress snorted. "Ho, indeed I Any. othec 
orders, me lady? Wouldn't you like to see the King 
of England?" 

" Very much, I should, and have a word with him 
in private," laughed Jenny. 

" The cusst impertinence of 'em," snarled the ward- 
ress, as she went out, leaving the cell-door open. 

In batches of four or five the prisoners issued forth 
with their pails into the long corridor and went to fill 
them at the pump. This was the one precious oppor- 
tunity in the twenty-four hours when those deprived of 
morning chapel, and the half-hour's exercise in the 
yard, could sometimes catch a glimpse of one another, 
though rarely exchange a word, the wardresses being 

This morning it proved hopeless, for Mary O'Neil 
was only let out after Jenny had been safely locked up 
again in her cell. 

The scrubbing of the floor was no easy matter with 
freezing cold water which refused obstinately to lathee 
the soap, nor viras it possible to dry it with the small 
cloth, little better than a rag. For herself Jenny 
minded nothing, but for her beloved Miss O'Neil she 
felt each hardship acutely, and longed to be able, 
Monte-Cristo fashion, to creep through some crevice in 
the wall and do her scrubbing for her. 

At seven o'clock the cell-door was banged open 
again. This time the wardress was accompanied by, 
two third-class prisoners, one carrying a huge tin of 
tea, ready milked and sugared, the other a basket of 
small brown loaves. In silence they filled the mug and 
put down the bread, then all three retired, the cell- 
door clanging after them with a dismal sound of 
finality. ^' ^^ 



Jenny eat her bread hungrily, but over the ready- 
sugared tea she made a wry. face. 

Suddenly a bright idea struck her. 

" I do believe it would do nicely for writing/' she 
cried to herself, ** 1*11 have a try." 

Taking a hairpin from her head she scratched in 
large letters on the wall, as deeply as she could do it, 
the words, *• Votes for Women." Then, dipping a 
small end of the cloth in the tea she bound it round 
the hairpin and proceeded to paint the letters over. 
But it was a feeble and faint cry, not at all to Jenny's 

" I must put some good red blood into it— like 
.everything else you do," said Jenny, applying the bare 
end of the hairpin to her wrist— a somewhat painful 
proceeding, as the shedding of blood is apt to be. 
But it produced the desired effect in making the letters 
stand out so finely that Jenny was encouraged to add 
a second line, her favourite motto — " Courage is the 
mother of all the virtues." 

This completed, Jenny took down her basket of 
sewing, and worked industriously for a spell, her 
mind travelling busily as her needle, though on 
a widely different road. The banging of the cell- 
doors and hurrying footsteps outside as the prisoners 
were marshalled to and from the daily chapel service, 
suggested the train of her thought. How perfunctory 
and lifeless was that service, the isolation of each 
desolate soul being carefully maintained even there, by 
the system of placing the prisoners three or four feet 
apart. Then the ominous red-curtained little gallery, 
behind which, all knew, sat one more unfortunate, more 
wicked if you will, than the rest, condemned to the 
extreme penalty, and daily awaiting its execution. There 
was little question as to the nameless horror that red 


curtain struck into each woman's soult But did it 
work out any redeeming effect? 

Jenny, as she looked round in chapel at the faces 
of her fellow-prisoners, had been struck above all by 
their crushed expression. Some, it is true, were hard 
and fixed as though carven in stone, but for the most 
part they were stamped with a dead hopelessness. 
She wondered whether anyone ever went out of prison 
better than they came in. One element in punishment^ 
she recognised, must be deterrent, but was it not 
equally important for the individual and the State, that 
another element should be the remedial? What touch of 
this existed in the present prison system? 

" As to chapel," pondered Jenny to herself> " so 
little do they themselves believe in its making you 
better that the moment you break one of their rules 
they cut you off going altogether. You'd think they'd 
order a double dose to try and make you better — but 
that's the very last notion that comes into their heads I 
• . . Oh, we women have got a lot to do when we do. 
get our vote.'* 

She had stitched and thought for about an hour when, 
with a sudd^en bang, the door was flung open again. 

" The doctor," announced the wardress, and a stout, 
strongly-built man of m^edium age and height, red of 
hair and ruddy of skin, entered as though in desperate 
haste. Jenny rose from her low wooden stool. 

" Well, what's the matter with you. Number Seven- 
teen?" he demanded sternly. 

" Terrible bad headache, doctor — caused by want of 
air— and can't take my food either." 

Dr. Blount glared at her angrily. 

" Oh, indeed— then go without— the remedy is 
simple," he retorted. 

"The remedy?" Jenny looked at him fearlessly. 
" A little fresh air is the remedy, doctor. It's four 


days now my friends and me have been cooped up with 
never a breath.** 

" Your own fault. If you disobey rules, you'll be 
punished— if you don't like it, keep the rules. If you 
don't like prison, keep the laws " 

" Doctor 1 " cried the wardress who had accompanied 
him, with sudden horror, as her eye lit on Jenny's 
wall-painting. " Look behind you at that wall." 

The doctor wheeled round sharply. 

" Where did she get the paint?— And the brush?" he 
demanded. Then to Jenny: "How dare you deface 
the wall in that manner?" 

" She's done it with a nairpin," cried the wardress, 
with a sudden triumphant inspiration. " Well, you'll 
be punished again, that's all. Number Seventeen." 

Jenny remained silent, her eyes fixed on her own 

Dr. Blount put on his eye-glasses and went up to 
the wall, examining it closely. He was still puzzled as 
to how she had managed it, even if the " nairpin " theory 
was correct. 

" Where did you get the paint?'' he demanded in a 
loud voice. 

The wardress rubbed the letters with her finger and 
answered for the prisoner. 

" It's cocoa, that's what it is, doctor." 

" Cocoa?" cried Dr. Blount; " so that's the way you 
treat good food, is it?" 

"No, doctor," said Jenny, with a quiet twinkle in 
her eye^ " it's not your good prison cocoa^who'd think 
of wastin' a drop of thatl It's only blood from my, 
heart. I tried to do it with this tea, but it wasn't 
strong enough. * Votes for Women ' needs your heart's 
blood, and so does courage." 

The doctor glared at her. 

" You need a taste of the punishment cell, young 


woman— teach you to obey the law and hold your 

" Aye, and she'll get it if she goes dn this way/' 
chimed in the wardress. 

" But doctor/' Jenny protested, "it's against the 
law to put us here at all— just as it was against the 
law to arrest us when we tried to present our Petition — 
but havin' arrested us we're political prisoners, you see^ 
and we ought to be put in the first division as the men 

The wardress made a movement as if she would 
dearly like to box the prisoner's ears. 

"The impudence of 'eri" she cried viciously. 
" That's the way they all go on, doctor." 

"Political fiddlesticks/' said Dr. Blount irritably. 
" You ought to be in the third class, and you will 
be next time. Now, have you anything more to 

" Yes, doctor," replied Jenny sturdily. " I'm bound 
to protest bein' put in the second class and deprived of 
fresh air and exercise. We're all of us gettin' sick for 
want of air— this place is so close and smells of drains, 
or something like it, terribly at times.'* 

"That's a lie," he answered angrily. "These 
cells are admirably ventilated— the Home Secretary has 
himself declared them to be so after careful inspection." 

" Always findin' fault with somethin' or other, these 
'ere Suffrigitts," echoed the wardress. 

" Well, I'll thank you not to bring me here again 
on such a fool's errand, Number Seventeen," said Dr. 
Blount, going. " You'll get the worst of it if you do— 
I'll give you a dose will make you remember— and see 
you swallow it too." 

" Serve 'er right it would— impudence," added his 
satellite, following him out and banging the door after 


Jenny resumed her seat on the stool and took up the 
prison garment on which she was at work. 

" Prison's just petrified her/' she remarked to her- 
self; "and no wonder when you think she's been here 
thirty years an' more— an' proud of it too, poor soul." 
She lifted up the coarse calico and examined her 
stitches critically; " I really think I'm improvin' a bit 
— there*s many things I'm learnin' by bein' a jail-bird, 
as Joe calls it. Poor old Joel I wish to goodness 
I could get news of him and poor little Maggie." She 
sighed and lapsed into silence. 

But she was not to have much solitude that day, for 
presently the door opened again, this time to admit the 
sewing-mistress, a pleasant, sweet-faced little woman, 
accompained by a third-class prisoner, carrying a large 
basket of cut-out needlework. 

" Well, Number Seventeen, how are you getting on?" 
she inquired with a smile. Then her eye fell on the 
wall, and her tone changed to one of dismay. " Oh 
dear, what have you been doing? I'm afraid you'll get 
into fresh trouble." 

Jenny laughed at her concern. 

"Don't worry about me," she said. "As well be 
hanged for a sheep as a Iambi" She held up her 
work. " I've done my best, but I'm a poor hand, I'm 
afraid. You see, I've worked all my life at the mill — 
I can manage my four looms all right, but needles ain't 
much in my line." 

The sewing-mistress examined the work carefully. 

" Not so bad — you're improving, Number Seven- 
teen. You'll go out knowing something more than 
when you came in, which is more than most can say." 

" Thanks to you," answered Jenny warmly. " You 
don't know how I look for your coming every morning. 
Have you read this week's Votes! " 

" Yes "—the mistress lowered her voice and spoke 


quickly. " IVe news for you— good news. The magis- 
trate has given the case against those Visiting Justices 
who ordered the water-hose to be turned on that 
Suffragette prisoner in her cell — it's a wonderful victory 
for you women.*' 

Jenny's face shone with pleasure. 

" Don't say you women/' she said, " say tts^ for 
you're one of us now, you know." 

" Oh yes, I'm with you," the little woman answered, 
smiling. " You've converted me— made me feel proud 
to be a woman— which I can't say I'd ever been 

The third-class prisoner listened with blinking eyes. 
They spoke in an unknown tongue to her. 

" Oh^ I tell you it's a glorious thing to be a woman," 
Jenny went on with eager enthusiasm. " And it's a 
glorious thing to be in this movement — to be one of 
this great Sisterhood. • • ." 

A wardress passed the half-open door, and the little 
sewing-mistress said hurriedly: 

" I must be going, or I'll get into hot water— and 
as to you. . , ." 

" For me it will be boiling— bubbling and boiling," 
laughed Jenny, as her friend nodded and went out, 
closing the door. 

She had hardly been gone a minute when the door 
banged open once more, and another voice announced : 

••The Governor I" 

A tall, dignified gentleman, with iron grey hair and 
keen soldierly features, surveyed the prisoner sternly. 

" Complaints again. Number Seventeen?" he said in 
his deep, quiet voice, and you felt that at this man's 
hands you would at least get justice, according to his 
lights. " You women," he continued, " would be better 
employed obeying orders and keeping rules, let me tell 


Jenny stood before him, her work in hand, looking 
the very embodiment of well-conducted womanhood • 
She answered respectfully: 

" We only make complaints against injustice, sir. 
We feel it our duty to protest against being treated as 
second-class criminals— we have committed no crime." 

The Governor's eye was fixed on the inscription on 
the wall. He answered in tones of deep displeasure: 

" You are criminals, and most troublesome ones. 
How could you venture to deface the prison wall in 
that manner?" 

" I've nothing else to write on/' Jenny answered 
simply. '* If I was in the first class, where I ought 
to be accordin' to justice, I'd have writing-paper and 
no occasion to use the wall." 

The Governor was pulling at his grey moustache— was 
he trying to suppress a smile? Jenny certainly never 
suspected him of such a thing nor did the wardress iwho 
accompanied him on his rounds, but she was surprised 
at the sudden moderation of his tone as he exclaimed: 

" No occasion to use the wall I Now look here, my 
good girl — you must be crazy— absolutely crazy. It 
is the most charitable, and I am beginning to believe, 
the true view, to take of your case. Now, take my 
advice and give up these people who have got hold of 
you — quit the whole silly business — do as you are told 
while you are here, and then go home quietly and do 
your duty in that state of life to which it has pleased! 
God to call you." 

With these words he turned and went out, sincerely 
hoping they would take effect. It really seemed to 
him a thousand pities such a bright, intelligent-looking 
young woman should have found her way into prison 
at all. 

" How can he know, or anyone else, what God's 
Voice has been calling to me," said Jenny to herself, as 


she sat down again on her stool of penance. " You've 
got to be very still to hear that Voice yourself— but once 
you have heard it, you've got to listen and heed It 
well— and that's just what I'm doing and why I'm 
here '• 

The cold was penetrating. Jenny's hands were blue 
and her feet stung with cold, not only from lack of 
exercise, but a naturally poor circulation and somewhat 
weak action of the heart* She rose and taking off the 
great thick, ill-fitting shoes^ which had blistered both 
her heels, tried to warm her feet on the hot-water pipe 
which passed along one side of the wall; but not with 
much success. Outside in the yard, by mounting the 
stool and standing on tip-toe, she could see the prison- 
ers doing their daily exercise. Round and round in a 
never-ending circle they trudged, a yard or so apart 
to prevent any opportunity of interchanging a word. 
Those who were strong and active going round the 
outer path, the feeble and aged round the inner one. 
Oh, the grey life I the grey flagstones, the grey sky over- 
head, and the grey, grey faces of the trudging women t 
Yet Jenny longed to be out there walking with thent 
and breadiing in the foggy mist, instead of the close 
bad air of the narrow cell. 

Slowly the hours dragged on. The snow had ceased 
to fall, giving place to a chill, grey drizzle. 

At twelve o'clock the key turned in the lock, and the 
wardress and third-class prisoners entered with dinner,, 
consisting to-day of a lump of suet pudding, two pota- 
toes, and a small brown loaf. Jenny knew she would 
need this food to stoke up for the future. She eat 
quickly, for now was the wardresses dinner-hour, and 
there was no time to be lost. Presently she heard four 
taps on the wall, and a voice that seemed to come from 
a long way off called out the Suffragette signal. 


Jenny knelt down by the hot-water pipe and an- 
swered vigorously: 

•• Tm ready " 

"It will mean the punishment cell for all of us/' 
came the voice through the wall. 

'• And we're all ready/' answered Jenny cheerfully. 

" The only protest left then will be the Hunger, 
Strike.— Oh, Jenny, I don't like that for you— I am 
certain your heart is none too strong." 

" Faith in God and our Cause gives us all strong, 
hearts — never fear for me," was Jenny's reply. 

She went to the opposite wall and sung out in a 
high, clear voice: 


" Ready," came the answer. 

Then Jenny, shoe in hand, mounted her stool. 

" Here goes," she cried, and with a good swing of 
her strong young arm, smash went three out of the four 
small thick panes of glass. And like an echo went the 
sound of breaking glass to right and to left down all 
the length of the corridor. 

" Good and clean, if it is damp/* Jenny drew in 
long draughts of the grey, damp, winter air gratefully. 
But retribution was already on foot. Bang, bang, bang 
came the sound of opening doors, followed by loud, 
angry voices and hurrying footsteps. 

Jenny's door was flung wide and the wardress burst 
in, panting and purple with indignation: 

"'Ooligansl" she gasped, "'ooligansl that's what 
you are — three — four — five panes smashed 1 " She gazed 
up at the window, but could not see clearly for rage. 
" You'll 'ear of this, you disgraceful, unsexed creatures 

" It's our protest at bein' deprived of fresh air," 
said Jenny, still standing near the broken window. 
" We had to do something, or you and the news- 


papers would have sworn we were quite content to be 
treated as criminals— can't have you sayin' that, you 
know I " 

** Well, you'll come up before the Governor an* the 
magistrates for this little turn. They'll let you know 
whether they re quite content, Miss 'Ooligan. We'll see 
'ow a punishment cell'uU suit you." With that she 
bounced out of the cell, and Jenny heard the cry of 
*' 'Ooligansl" starting next door. 

But another voice now came ringing through the 
air— a giant voice from outside. 

'* Courage — courage, brave friends of the Cause I 
Victory is in sight. All goes well. Your broken win- 
dows are a symbol — the light and air are let in." 
The loud, hoarse tones of the megaphone came from 
the open window of a house opposite, which overlooked 
this side of the prison. 

" It is her voice — our splendid young Captain 1 " cried 
Jenny joyfully. She caught up the prison clothes on 
which she had been at work, and waved them out of 
the broken window. ^ 

" How they just think of everything, those leaders 
of ours," she cried with enthusiasm. " The little things, 
like cheering us in prison, as well as the big things 
that's going to change the world for women — aye, and 
men too. Never were such women as our leaders — 
never in all the world." 

** No surrender," pealed in glad, exultant tones from 
the broken windows all along the line. 

" No surrender," echoed the giant voice of the mega- 
phone. Then it continued so that all those in the cells 
could hear: 

" Good news, friends. Splendid news — we've won 
the by-election at Bermondsey. Grand meeting at the 
Star Music Hall two nights ago. Our women carried 
vote against the Government unanimously. What did it 


was the Government's treatment of the working women. 
Fine Liberals releasing the two ladies because of weak 
hearts, tested by specialist— but no testing for the work- 
ing women, and no weak hearts 1 — Well, it lost the 
Liberals Bermondseyl*' 

" Hurrah 1 hurrah I hurrah I" came through the 
broken windows. 

** It'uU lose them scores mor6 seats before we've 
done with them — the sham Liberal Government — ^sham 
friends of the people I" cried the megaphone. 

" Silence there, you disgraceful creatures — ^not women 
at all, you ain't," shrieked the wardress, appearing 
again at the door. " Come down this minute," she 
conmianded Jenny. 

But Jenny, still standing and waving, did not even 
hear her. 

•' No surrender, indeed I " cried the wardress, " we'll 
see about that — 'Ooligansl" and out she went in search 
of higher authority and power, while Jenny and her 
companions, standing at their broken windows, burst 
into the Suffragette Marseillaise, other voices from the 
house opposite joining in: 

" To Freedom's cause till death 
We swear our fealty. 
March on, march on, 
Face to the dawn — 
The dawn of liberty." 


It was bitterly cold in the punishment cell. 

A chill frosty mist thickened the air and shut out the 
pale winter sun. Added to this was the penetrating 
damp of the small, dark cellar into which neither air 
nor light entered, save through a very imperfect ventila- 
tor, and a little window of unbreakable glass high up 
in the wall. 

On a low plank bedstead, only a few inches off the 
floor, and fastened by chains to the wall, lay Mary 
0*Neil, wasted and pale— a very shadow of herself. 
Her eyes were closed, but a look of quiet serenity 
illumined her face, in strange contrast to her surround- 
ings. By her side was a stone stool which did duty 
both as table and chair, and, with a tin basin for 
washing, completed the furniture of this dismal cell. 
On the stone stool stood a tin mug of cocoa, strange 
and lurid in hue, and a small loaf of coarse brown 
bread. This breakfast had been waiting there some time, 
for the cocoa was stone cold, and a faint, dim daylight 
had replaced the dim gaslight over the door, lit at 
half-past five, when the prisoners were awakened to 
begin another day. k 

All night Mary had lain wakeful on her hard, plank 
bed, her body aching with cold and the internal pains of 
complete exhaustion caused by her five days and nights 
of fasting. But as the cold grey dawn crept in she 
fell asleep at last, and only partially roused when the 



wardress entered noisily and banged down the tin mug 
and plate by her side. 

Oh, those grim prison nights I How she had grown 
to dread them! Surely no mediaeval purgatory could 
be worse. The awful silence of sleepless souls, each 
in their solitary cell; a silence broken only by those 
sudden screams and cries, so terrifying, so mysterious, 
tearing through the heavy darkness, making the heart 
stand still with a nameless dread. 

Who was it cried out like that? — ^was it the poor 
mother torn from her little child, who fought like a 
tigress in her despair and was led screaming into the 
punishment cell? Or was it the poor old woman in 
prison for being unable to pay her taxes, punished still 
further by two days in these cells because she pro«- 
tested persistently against the degradation of wearing 
the prison cap, she whose one pride for seventy years 
had been to keep herself and the eight children she had 
borne the State " respectable." Or was it the terrified 
girl, hardly more than a child, whom Mary had passed 
on her way to chapel one day, and who she learnt 
afterwards from the nice little sewing-mistress had 
been arrested for the double crime of accosting in the 
street, and then trying to escape the just hand of the 
law by striking the policeman who seized her? 

Oh, those prison faces, how they haunted the night I 
Mary's cell was peopled with them, and her heart 
wrung with pity and desire to save. She had spoken 
to one of the chaplains about them one day before being 
transferred to the punishment cell. He assured her 
such pity was totally misplaced. After many years' 
(experience as prison chaplain he had found as an 
almost invariable rule, that women who got into prison 
were incorrigibly bad — nothing to be done with them — 
hopeless I 

Mary remembered a prison for women of which Miss 


Chadwick had spokenj in the United States. Her 
dream ever since had been to have one like it some day, 
in England. In this prison, though the worst char- 
acters were admitted, no woman had as yet been found 
" hopeless." Much time and patience were needed, but 
the reward invariably came. Women only, dealt with 
these women — ^not a man occupied any post on the 
place, even the police who conducted the prisoners from 
the court being women, and mostly little women of 
gentle, quiet aspect. Gardeners, jailors, doctors, and 
chaplains, all were women. Perhaps there are cases 
where only the woman's heart can understand how to 
deal with the bitterness and soreness as well as the 
hardness and evil of the woman criminal. 

Mary already loved her fellow-prisoners. There was 
the girl who looked up at her from her scrubbing as 
she passed and gave her a smile like that of an inno- 
cent country girl— a smile which went straight to her 
heart, claiming her as a comrade and a prison-sister. 
And the young mother exercising in the prison yard, 
her baby in her arms, that baby born in prison, but 
who crowed and snatched at his mother's prison cap 
as if it had been a flower, and she a princess walking 
in her garden. Was the baby incorrigibly bad? He 
was certainly as impudently happy as though he had 
been born in the " purple " instead of the prison. 

Yes, it was easy enough to love these, but how hard 
not to hate those others— the hard, blind bigots whose 
bad laws and bad systems built up and perpetuated 
all the misery. The selfish, arrogant men who would 
not hear the cry of the prisoners, nor the pleading of 
those who would save them, or at least make better 
conditions for the children still to be born. 

" Yet they too are victims, though they do not know 
it," reflected Mary, as she lay stretched on her bed of 
pain through those long dark hours, " and truly ' they 


know not what they do.* Divine love/' she prayed, 
^ teach me to say * Father, forgive them.' Only when 
I can say that from my heart can I ever know the 
real meaning of the love of Christ Who gave Himself 
for a world which rejected Him. He saw right through 
the hard stony surface, deep, deep into the depths of 
each poor human heart, and there lay the divine germ 
waiting to be quickened into life— and the only thing to 
quicken it is love. I suppose, after all, there is not one 
of those hard^looking wardresses and officials, not one 
of those Cabinet Ministers so bitterly opposed to the 
idea of doing justice to women, who would not cheer- 
fully die to save someone they love." 

And with this thought, her eyes closed, anid her spirit 
soared away, far above the grey walls of the prison, 
the grey mists of earth. 

When she awoke it was with a sense of deep re- 
freshment, of extraordinary repose, though she had 
slept at the longest two hours. She opened her eyes 
with something of surprise, as though those two hours 
had wiped out the memory of her present surroundings. 
Then in low dreamy tones she began speaking to 
herself— a habit she had acquired in her prison soli- 
tude, and like her friend Jenny, found most comforting. 

" I must have slept I Thank God for the blessed 
sleep. How I wish all prisoners here could have such 
sweet sleep, poor things. It is so wonderful to get 
away like that — * He giveth to His beloved in sleep '-^ 
and we are all, all His beloved. What is this wonder- 
ful gift He gives us in our sleep, I wonder? For be- 
sides the renewing of bodily and mental vitality there is 
a further gift. Does the Divine Love bear us far 
away, right to the very threshold of the Celestial — ^that 
Third Heaven of St. John's, where we get a glimpse 


of the meaning of it all — of the glorious end in view? 
I think it must be so, for, waking after such a sleep, 
all seems so clear, and something gloriously true seems 
fresh in my memory, though too big to put into words 
— too big for my small, conscious mind to hold, except 
as a wonderful impression.*' 

With a sigh she closed her eyes a moment, vainly 
trying to call back those fleeting memories which 
faded like colours in the sky. Then as her gaze re- 
turned to the bare wall of her cell, a little glint of 
sunshine pierced suddenly through a crevice between 
the window and the masonry, throwing a patch of star- 
shaped light on the wall facing her. 

** Oh, the dear little messenger 1" she cried. "He 
has forced a way through just to tell me the grey mist 
is clearing and the sun shining in the world outside, this 
bleak, December morning. A winter sunt" She 
shivered and drew the thin blanket closer round her. 
" How absurd though to talk of a winter sun,** she 
went on to herself, " as well talk of a winter God or 
a winter mother. Alas I it is our world makes the 
winter — we who turn away from the light and warmth. 
My ray of light flickers — oh, don't go, little friend I 
stay and speak to me just as the blessed stars spoke 
to me in my other cell through the tiny window which 
held but a few inches of sky, yet a thousand stars. Thank 
God these heavenly voices manage to reach us poor 
prisoners, in spite of thick walls, opaque glass, and 
watchful gaolers. How wonderful to think that that 
little shaft of light comes straight from the heart of 
the great centre of light, millions and millions of miles 
away, to write on my dark wall a message of courage 
and hope. Oh glorious, life-giving sun I — ^visible sym- 
bol of the living love of Christ my Saviour— the Eternal 
Sun^fiU my poor heart with your beauty — give strength 
to suffer joyfully these present ills^ counting them as 


274 . . ffO SURRENDER 

nothing to win the priceless boon of freedom for 
women — ^yes, and for men— how can they be free while 
their mothers are in bondage? — ^how can a man be free 
mated to an inferior? It is like trying to run with a lame 
leg. Surely, for the whole human body we must win free- 
dom. . . . Oh, my ray has gonel*' she cried mourn- 
fully, as the patch of light vanished, and dim twilight 
returned to the cell. ** Well, I mustn't grumble, the 
writing on the wall was a letter written by the dear sun 
to help me through my sixth day of hunger strike— one 
can't expect letters all day long. • • .*' 

A loud turning of the big key — the door was flung 
wide. A wardress entered and marched up to Mary's 

"Sol You've not touched your food again this 
mornin', Number Thirty-three— spite of what I told 
you?'* Her voice resembled the key in the lock. 

Mentally, she was like a withered fir tree, all dry 
spikes, no sap left, and no green, which was perhaps 
not surprising, considering she had been exercising her 
present duties for nigh on thirty years. Her thin lips 
tightened as she looked at the long slight form stretched 
apparently helpless at her feet, and realised the in- 
domitable spirit which it housed. 

" I don't wish for any food, thanks," said Mary 

" Ho, indeed— you don't wish for any food, don't 
you?" The wardress mimicked the words. "Five 
days starving already and disobedience to borders," she 
went on angrily. " Well, I warn you we're not goin* 
to stand no more nonsense with you Suifrigitts — 
you'll swallow this down, or I'll know the reason 

She took up the tin mug and pressed it against the 
prisoner's closed lips, till Mary pushed it away and 
turned her head to the waUt 


** Please take away that food^I shall not touch it," 
she said quietly. 

The wardress snorted and banged down the mug 
on the stooU 

" Won't you I We'll see about that. 'Ow if we make 
you— aye?'* 

" I shall not take it of my own will — you cannot force 
that/' answered Mary, " but I'm quite ready to tell you 
the reason why I refuse food. I want you to under- 
stand . . •"*• 

" Oh, I don't want none of your jawring/' she broke 
in impatiently. "Reason why, indeed I We'll break 
down that stubborn spirit of yours 'fore we've done 
with you — I've had to do with worse'n you, not often, 
I will say, but they've come out cryin' like babies, and 
as cowed as whipped curs before I've done with 'em.'* 

Mary turned and fixed her big grey eyes on her 
with horror: 

"Those poor things," she cried pityingly. "And you^ 
you go to chapel and you pray to God to have mercy on 
your soul — you call yourself a Christian, I suppose?" 

" No more of your impudence, Number Thirty- 
three," the wardress retorted as she turned on her heel. 
*' Come, look sharp, an' obey orders or I'll Christian 
you." And she banged the cell-door after her. 

Mary sat up in bed, but even this slight effort made 
her breath come quickly at first. She stretched out for 
the small black brush and comb on the shelf and began 
to do her hair in two long plaits, frequently pausing to 
take breath. She felt curiously weak directly she at- 
tempted to move, and on getting out of bed her head 
swam round suddenly and she found herself falling. 
After that she remembered no more till the voice of the 
matron reached her as though coming through a thick 
cloud : 

" Quick— fetch the doctor, one of you— she's fainted. 


. • . Here, help me lift her on the bed. Was she all 
right when you left her?" 

And the voice of the wardress answered: 

*• Perfectly, Matron— but what can you expect? This 
is the sixth day she's shoved away every morsel of food 
—obstinate as pigs these Suffragitts are— just tryin' to 
give trouble, that's all they want.*' 

They lifted her on to the bed. Mary opened 
her eyeS| sighing deeply. The matron moistened her 
lips with water, as she remarked not unkindly: 

•• Well— what on earth they do it for bafHes me." 
She arranged Mary's head on the wooden block that 
served for pillow. *' I'd put them all into a lunatic 
asylum for mental treatment." 

" She's comin' to — she'll be all right before the 
doctor gets here," said the wardress — " but they've gone 
for 'im now." 

" Well, I'd rather he came in any case," said the 

" I'm all right now, really," said Mary. " I'm so 
sorry to have been so stupid." 

" Well, come now, and be sensible— just take a drop 
of this." The matron held the cup of cold cocoa to 
Mary's lips. 

" No, thank you— indeed, I can't," Mary protested, 
pushing away the hateful tin mug. 

"No, you'll see. Matron," the wardress was trium- 
phant at the matron being served no better than herself. 
'* She won't do as she's bid— she's like a mule." 

Mary turned to the matron: 

" No, no, I'm not— it isn't that— we cannot take the 
prison food. It is the only way we have of protesting 
—don't you see?" 

" I see nothing of the sort," the matron answered. 
**I consider you are very wrong as well as foolish." 

" But we must protest," Mary repeated wearily. 


** We are political offenders not criminals, and this is 
the only way." 

" Well, I'm afraid you'll have to learn a new way/' 
said the matron tartly. " You'd better lie still now till 
the doctor comes — ^we'U see what he says. If I was in 
your place, however, I should obey rules while I was 
in prison— political or no—" 

" Oh no, I'm sure you wouldn't." Mary looked at 
her gently. " If only you understood what it means to 
women to get their freedom." 

" Well, it'll be a long time before you get your 
freedom, if you go on in this way," said the matron, 
but the words were harsher than the tone. 

" Here's the doctor," said the wardress, and the 
small cell was filled up with the bulky, powerfully 
built form of Dr. Blount and another wardress who 
followed in attendance. 

The matron made way for him as he walked briskly 
up to the prisoner, ;iaying in a loud bullying voice : 

" Now, what's all this about? Refusing food again 
to-day, Number Thirty-three? And fainting, of course, 
and giving trouble all round. We've had about enough 
of this nonsense. If you don't drink up your cocoa at 
once I'll fetch the stomach tube, and you'll get two 
pints of beef tea poured straight down through your 
nose— how'U you like that?" 

A shade of repugnance at his words, or perhaps 
tone, shot across the well-controlled face of the 

"I've been trying to persuade her to be sensible, 
doctor," she said. " Perhaps she will." 

" Oh, persuasion and kindness are thrown away, I 
fear, on these crazy, obstinate women." He took up 
the cup, in his turn, and with one hand pressed the 
tin edge hard against her lips, while with the other 
hand he held her head up : 


•• Comje, be quick, drink it up," he ordered. ** I've 
no time for this hysterical nonsense.*' 

Mary turned her head determinedly: 

" I refuse to take any food whatever," she reiterated, 
" as long as I am treated as a second-class criminal.'* 

" You are a criminal," said Dr. Blount angrily. 
" You've been violent and disobedient— broken windows 
and broken rules— that is a crime. Td put you dis- 
orderly, disobedient women into the third division, if 
I were the magistrate. Now, are you going to take 
this food or no?" 

He held up the mug, and Mary knew this was her 
last chance. 

"I've told you, doctor, no,*' she answered wearily. 

" Very well," he said with a vindictive look, " then 
I'll force you to take it. We'll see who's master 
here." He strode quickly out of the cell, followed by 
one of the shadowing wardresses who invariably ac- 
company the doctor, chaplaiui and Governor on their 

The matron and remaining wardress were about to 
follow when the former took a step back, saying al- 
most entreatingly : 

" Be warned in time— I speak as your friend, I 
assure you." 

But Mary's only reply was a sorrowful shake of the 
head. Alone in her cell she began to tremble— then 
with a supreme effort of self-control she joined her 
hands, closed her eyes, and her lips moved in silent 
prayer. It was only for a few moments, but her spirit 
was calmed almost instantly, and the old look of serenity 
returned. The cell-door had been left open, and pre- 
sently a wardress returned accompanied by a third- 
class prisoner carrying a pail and brush. 

" Scrub this floor, and look sharp," said the ward- 
ress; and the third-class prisoner dropped on to her 


knees as though automatically, and began to scrub in 
a duU^ mechanical way. 

Mary looked at her a few minutes in silence^ then 
she said, speaking under her breath, for the cell-door 
was left intentionally ajar, and there were ears and 
eyes ever on the alert: 

" I'm so sorry you should have to clean my cell — it 
is too bad that I should add to your work. But I'm! 
so weak to-day." 

Slowly the woman on her knees turned and looked 
at the prisoner on the bed. Her eyes were round with 
surprise at being addressed in such a tone. Then she 
turned again without a word and went on with her 

Mary watched her with pitying eyes. The woman 
looked still young, about thirty, and in spite of her gaunt, 
sallow face there were traces of a certain pathetic pretti- 
ness. Her features bore no sign of crime or its accom- 
panying hardness, but in her eyes was a scared, dazed 
look, which made one fear for her reason. 

" Have you been here long?*' Mary asked gently, 
after a pause. Again the woman turned slowly and 
fixed an amazed gaze on her before she answered dully : 

" I don't know— seems like years— it must be several 

" Well, don't be downcast. Your time will soon b^ 
up— no ouQ is ever here for very long sentences, you 
know. How long did you get?'^ 

"I've not been tried yet," came the answer from a 
bowed head, as the scrubbing-brush moved to and fro. 

" You mean you are under remand — awaiting trial?" 
Mary asked in surprise. 

The head of the third-class prisoner bowed in adsent, 
and drooped lower over her work. 

" But I don't understand," said Mary very gently. 
" Do tell me, if you don't think me rude and interfering 


for asking, how is it? Why do they make you wait all 
these months?** 

For answer the woman gave a low convulsive sob. 

Mary raised herself on to her arm and stretched out 
a hand: 

" Oh, forgive me," she cried remorsefully. " Don't 
tell me anything you*d rather not. Only I thought 
sometimes it's rather a comfort in prison to speak to 
a friend— and I want you to feel I am a friend.'* 

Without ceasing to scrub, and moving steadily for- 
ward on her knees, the woman answered in low, rapid 
tones : 

'• I was arrested for killin* my baby.*' 

•• You — you " — Mary hesitated — ** weren't married?" 

By way of answer the woman shook her head. 

" Oh, you poor, poor thing — how you must have 
suffered," said Mary. 

"I'm not a bad girl," she burst out with sudden 
energy of protest. " I was crazed with the pain I'd 
gone through, and scared to death thinkin' how every- 

one'ud turn me adrift — ^me and baby " She paused 

in her scrubbing, letting the brush fall, and covered 
her face with both hands. 

"But your mother?. . . Have you a mother?" 
Mary's eyes were brimming with tears. She was think- 
ing of that other poor victim, Maggie Smith. How 
full the world was of misery. 

" My poor mother. . • ." The girl's voice broke. 
" It'll kill 'er, this will." 

"And your father?" 

" My father — 'e'd never let me darken 'is doors 
after my character was gorn — never I" 

" But thei man • • • the father of your baby? Surely 
he would have helped you?" 

The third-class prisoner turned and faced her^her 
eyes blazed for a moment. 


*• Help me? 'Im? Why, 'twas 'im drove me to it. 
*E said if I dared breathe a word about 'im, 'e'd make 
out to everyone I was a reglar bad girl, an' every- 
one 'd believe 'im— he was a gentleman, you see." There 
was a faint ring of pride in the last words. " I hoped 
I'd die when baby was born," she went on in the old 
dull tone, " I felt so bad before she came I made sure 
I should." 

" I know of another case something like yours," said 
Mary, " only she's even younger than you." Mary 
made sure this girl was ten years older than Maggie 
Smith. " We're all going to help. her, and we'll help 
you, God helping us." 

The girl shook her head and continued to scrub as 
she answered: 

"However can you 'elp? There's no 'elp — God 
doesn't 'elp girls like me. Why should He when yer 
own parents turn against you? I suppose they'll 'ang 
me. Oh, why couldn't they 'ave let me die as I wanted 
tol" She paused, and looked at the half-open door 
fearfully, then at Ae pale lady. " Now I don't want 
to die— J— I'm afraid." 

" No, no," Mary said eagerly. " Don't be afraid of 
that happening. There is no need to fear any such 
thing, I assure you — those awful times are over. • • .'^ 

But the third-class prisoner continued with haggard 
eyes of misery gazing in front of her, and hardly 
seeming to hear Mary's attempt at comfort, so incredu- 
lous had she grown of any hope: 

" Every night I dream as they're *anging me. The 
judge sits there with 'is black cap on 'is 'ead and saysi 
those awful words—' 'anged by 'er neck till she do die.* 
Oh, I'll go mad if it goes on much longer. ... I 
can't bear it I" Again she covered her face with her. 
hands and sobbed convulsively. 

Mary's hands were stretched out piteously. 


•* Don't cry, my dear— I'll help you— we'll all help 
you— there are a hundred thousand of us all your, 
friends — ^all going to help you," she said. 

"Not me— not me," sobbed the girh " I'm a mur- 

*• No, no, you're not — you never meant to harm your 
baby, I'm sure. You loved it, didn't you?" 

" Aye, I loved it too much to want it to live in this 
crool, hard world— my poor little lass." Then with 
sudden passion she added: "An' I'm glad, aye, I'm 
glad after all, as I did it, an' bein' a girl she's safef 
out of their hands • • . out of the hands of crool men." 

" What is your name?" asked Mary suddenly. 

But even as she spoke a menacing form stood in the 
doorway : 

" HaT I thought as much," cried the wardress. The 
soft, felt shoes had given no warning of her approach, 
and now she stood, eyes screwed small with anger, 
as she looked at the culprits. " Disobeying rules 
again I Get out of this. Number Forty-two — you'll have 
solitary confinement for three days for this — when 
you're wanted to talk you're mum as a tombstone, an' 
when it's forbidden, chatterin' like a magpie I I heard 
you — shameless 'ussie, you." 

With rapid movements the girl gathered up her. 
pail and brush. 

" Keep a brave heart, and remember you have an 
army of friends," Mary called after her as she dis- 

" As for you, Number Thirty-three," the wardress 
turned to the other delinquent, " the doctors will be 
here presently and take you in hand. Meanwhile,, 
here's the chaplain — p'raps he can bring you to a better 

" May, I come in a minute?" said a kindly voice at 
the open door. 


" Yes, indeed, please do/' Mary greeted with a 
smile of pleasure the tall, bent, grey-haired man who 
entered, of the long, narrow, ascetic type to be seen 
in early Italian frescoes. The inevitable attendant fol- 
lowed in his wake. 

Walking up to the bedside, he looked down on her, 
shaking his head. 

•* You look very weak — very white — you can't go on 
like this, you know. The matron has been telling me 
about you.'^ 

" I want so much to know about my friends," 
whispered Mary eagerly. " How are they? It's so ter- 
rible not knowing." 

The wardress in attendance gave an ominous cough. 

The chaplain said nothing, but answered by a re- 
assuring nod with which Mary knew she must be 
content at present. 

" Now I want you to be reasonable," he began. 
" You can't possibly hold out another two days, so . . •" 

" I only try to live one day at a time, you know." 
Mary looked up with her serene smile. " Have you 
read the ' Women's Charter ' yet?" 

" Yes, I have — I got it at once— it ought to be sown 
broadcast that pamphlet. I knew a good deal, of 
course, but not all, not nearly all the woman's wrongs 
that so urgently need righting." He sighed, and his 
thin, gaunt face contracted as with pain. 

" People don't know— everything combines to keep 
them in the dark. Did you notice the girl who left 
my cell just before you caifle in?" she asked. 

" Yes — I saw she had been crying," he answered. 

" Will you talk to her— get her to tell you her story? 
She needs all the help you can give her. It is a 
tragic case.'* 

" I will do all I can— I have tried, but she was 
dumb," he answered sadly. " You see, I don't belong 


to this prison, and am but a stop-gap. I have not had 
time perhaps to win her confidence." 

" She will talk to you far more readily than to the 
other chaplain. He thinks all the women here 
hopeless. But the ice has melted now— she is no longer 
dumb — you will find she is a victim, not a criminal 
really. Oh, we women have so much to do when we 
get our votel You do see that now, don't you?*' Mary 
turned her eyes on him appealingly. 

" Yes,** he answered in slow, convinced tones, " I 
realise that your unfranchised condition is the stone at 
the mouth of the tomb, as your friend Father Petre 
says. It must be rolled away before you can arise 
in full power to do the work which lies before you.'^ 

" Oh yes," Mary took him up eagerly, though her 
voice was getting so weak it was hardly more than a 
whisper. '* And we want you clergy to help us. For 
you can help to roll away the great stone of pre- 
judice—many timid souls will follow gladly where you 
lead the way — your sheep will follow their shepherd." 

" Tm with you as far as your vote goes, but, my dear 
young lady, I cannot approve of you young women 
starving yourselves to death— no, nor throwing stones, 
or breaking windows." 

" I should think not, indeed," muttered the wardress 
under her breath. 

" But we do it pnly as a symbolic act — a protest 
against the tyranny of the Government— never to injure 
anybody," Mary assured him. " Before we throw our 
stones at a window we wait till the blinds are down — 
that's the woman's way." . 

" The woman's way, indeed," murmured the ward- 
ress, but they had both forgotten her existence. 

The tall priest shook his grey head doubtfully as he 

"Our Divine Master suffered violence,He offered none." 


But Mary, her pale face glowing like a flame, took 
him up quickly: 

" Have you forgotten the whip of small cords? 
Would He find no use for that whip if He came back 
now, for those who desecrate His Temple and injure 
His little ones?*^ 

" Oh, the impudence of her/' ejaculated the wardress 
in pious horror. 

Still neither of them heard or heeded her, too ab- 
sorbed in their own talk. 

" We must discuss this further another time,*' he 
said. " Now I want you to be good and reasonable. 
I beg you to take a little food to*day. Trust me, will 
you? I am old enough to be your father, and therefore 
I hope in some things have gained a little more wisdom 
than you. Believe me, it is the right thing to do. • « • 
You know "—he hesitated — " the prison authorities have 
orders not to release any more of you before the 
expiration of your sentences — so, the alternative is • • .*' 
Again he found it di£Scult to go oUj but Mary inter- 
rupted him: 

" I know— I know," she shuddered involuntarily. 
'* But J must not shirk suffering as other women have 
suffered— as those now^with me are suffering. I have 
a little friend in this prison whose heart is far weaker 
than mine — yet she will never give in, you'll see. How 
can you urge me to turn traitor to the Cause through 

'* It's no question of being a traitor," he insisted. 
" You have all done your share of protest by five days' 
hunger strike. Now it is your simple duty to submit 
to the laws of your country, and the prison rule." 

" And so make our protest useless and vain?" — Mary 
shook her head sadly — " and for the women who come 
after us, prison rule worse. For if I give in, it will be 
harder for them, you know.*' 


" But for them and for you it will be alike— 4h6 
Government has ordered forcible feeding, I regret to 
say. I beg you/' he pleaded earnestly, " to submit to 
their rules. '^ 

" I have been a hospital nurse— I know what that 
operation is." 

" I fear it is done very differently here. I mean ..." 
he hesitated — " the conditions must of necessity be 
otherwise. Do be warned— you have still time, the 
matron is ready to bring you food— she is very anxious 
about yoUj I know." 

" If you have any pity for us women, then help us 
to be brave/ not weak and cowardly. Pray God to keep 
us strong." 

" The doctors are here," said another wardress, 
coming to the door, and the chaplain turned to go. 

" I will do as you ask. Good-bye," he said. 

As the chaplain left the cell the doctors entered, the 
one who had already been there. Dr. Blount, and an- 
other Mary had not yet seen— Dr. Sawyer, together with 
three more wardresses bringing apparatus for forcible 
feeding — tubes, pumps, straps and cord, steel wedge, 
an instrument for prising, sponge, towels^ a wooden 
chair, and a big quart jug of beef-tea. 

Without any preamble, the doctors and wardresses 
surrounded the prisoner. 

'* Come, get up with you/* said Dr. Blount, roughly 
seizing her arm. 

Mary answered quietly though her cheek flushed: 

"I'll get up if you will leave me to do so — you are 
hurting my arm." She tried to free herself from his 

The old wardress thought this was her hour of 
victory. In the name of prison discipline she rejoiced. 

" Oh, we're very delicate, this mornin', doctor," she 
put in. 


" Take her arm on the other side, will you, Sawyer/' 
said Dr. Blount, " and lift her on to the chair — pay 
no attention to her." 

" I never do,*' observed Dr. Sawyer, a young man 
with a bad complexion and eye-glasses. 

" They're all that impudent, these Suffragitts," re- 
marked one of the wardresses pleasantly. 

" Well, this has the advantage of impeding their 
conversational powers," said Dr. Sawyer, with a wink 
at Dr. Blount, " for a time, at all events." 

But Dr. Blount was in no mood for pleasantry. He 
was angry at being flaunted by a pack of women, 
angry with them and angry with himself, at being forced 
to play a part he did not really relish. This made him 
rough and rude^ determined they should learn a lesson 
for the future^ as he put it to himself. 

They placed Mary on the chair, forcing her into a 
slanting position, her head thrown back, while the four 
attendants each seized her arms and legs, stretching 
them to their full length, so that her body took the form 
of a cross. 

" Now hold on firm all of you," said Dr. Sawyer, 
*'and be prepared for her kicking— they always do I" 
he laughed. 

Mary tried to speak, she struggled for breath: 
"Please don't force— my— head so — far back," she gasped. 

By way of reply. Dr. Sawyer inserted a large steel 
wedge between her teeth^ forcing her mouth open, while 
Dr. Blount wrenched her head still further back, as 
he said savagely : 

"Any more instructions, eh?" 

" I was going to give it through the nose, but per- 
haps the mouth would do. Heart all right, I suppose?" 
Sawyer inquired of Dr. Blount. 

" Oh, yes, heart's right enough," replied Dr. Blount, 
" you can try the pulse if you liko— she's a bad colour 


from trying to faint this morning— hysterical^ you know 
— ^all these women." 

Dr. Sawyer put his fingers on the prisoner's pulse 
for a moment. *' Perfectly normal/' he remarked. 

" Wiell^ I should go for the nose, it's less bother on 
the whole/* said Dr. Blount. 

" These little creatures are apt to bite, I know — 
vicious cats, Suffragettes/' remarked the younger man 
facetiously. " However, if she bites me, I'll draw her 
teeth— I'm a dab at extractions.*' 

The wardresses laughed— -they always laughed at 
the doctor*s jokes. Only one, the wardress at Mary's 
feet, did not laugh; she looked up at the suffering girl, 
her eyes brinuning with tears. 

" I think you'd better try the nose," repeated Dr. 

So Dr. Sawyer proceeded to remove the steel wedj^e 
and to push a thick rubber tube roughly up the small 
delicate nose of his victim. Being too thick it refused 
to pass, causing terrible pain in the attempt. 

" Passage is too small, deuce take her," he remarked 

" Well, give it her through the throat then," said 
Blount irritably. " But let's look sharp — see, we've 
seventeen more of them to do — can't be all day with 
this one.'^ 

*' Open your mouth," shouted Dr. Sawyer. 

Mary's teeth were closed in a nervous contraction. 
She was incapable of making any voluntary movement. 

"Open your mouth, will you?" said Dr. Blount 
savagely. *' Leave this to me," he said, seizing the 
steel prise from Sawyer and forcing it between Mary's 
teeth, while he gripped her jaw in such a vice as to 
bruise it badly. Stretching the mouth wide open, he 
then forced down a thick, long, rubber tube, which, as 
it passed through the throat, caused a sensation of 


complete suffocation. Mary writhed and struggled des- 
perately for breath. 

" She's plenty of life in her still/' observed Dr. 
Sawyer with a laugh. 

The wardresses pulled violently at her limbs to hold 
her still. But the grey-eyed wardress at her feet, en- 
deavouring to hold her more gently, let go one foot 
and so nearly upset the chair. 

Dr. Blount turned on her angrily: 

" You don't seem capable of doing your job, Ward- 
ress. Go and fetch someone else at once— Officer 
Welch for choice— she's got muscle. Come, look 
sharp .'^ 

The kind-eyed wardress rose quickly. 

" I'm glad enough to go," she said fervently. " It's 
not a job in my line," and as she went out she looked 
back at Mary, murmuring, " Poor dear I " 

The rest relaxed their hold for a moment, and the 
doctor allowed Mary's head to go forward a little. 
She groaned. 

" Now you needn't pretend you're in pain," said 
Dr. Blount. " This is what is done to invalids every 
day in the year, and they take their food and enjoy it — 
the sooner you do the same the better for you.'* 

Officer Welch, a strong, bony, hard woman appeared 
at the door. 

" Havin' trouble, are you, doctors?" she inquired, 
eyeing the scene. 

" Bad as killing a pig," replied Dr. Sawyer humour- 
ously. ** Squealing and kicking up such a shindy — 
requires a dozen to hold her.'* 

"Come on, you're strong," said Dr. Blount. "Ward- 
ress Turner is of the melting description— mistaken 
her vocation," he added contemptuously. 

Welch advanced, and kneeling down seised Mary's 
foot in one hand, gripping her knete with the other in 



an iron vice. " I'll see I don't melt/' she remarked 

Then Sawyer took the jug and proceeded to pour, 
down the contents. Mary felt like an animal in a trap — ^a 
terrible, living, thinking, trap. Her whole being was 
drowned in an overwhelming sea of pain — agonising, 
suffocating pain, quite indescribable. Time ceased to 
be. She touched the deepest depths of darkness. But 
though her body quailed, her spirit did not. 

"Dr. Blount, you are wanted," called a voice out- 

" Who is there? I'm busy," he answered hoarsely. 

" The Governor I " replied the voice, coming nearer, 
and footsteps stopped at the door of the cell. 

All remained transfixed. Sawyer put down the jug 
and held the prisoner's head, while Dr. Blount hurried 
to the door. 

" You are asking for me, sirP" he inquired, surprise 
and annoyance on his face. 

" One moment. Dr. Blount." The Governor drew 
him outside. " Read this." He handed the doctor 
a telegram^ and watched his face keenly while he 
read it. 

" Home Secretary orders immediate release of Miss 
Mary O'Neil. Family doctor certifies heart affected,'* 
read the astonished and disconcerted doctor. He looked 
inquiringly at the Governor, and asked under his 

" I wonder who's at the bottom of this? What are 
we to do?'* 

" Stop this business at once," said the Governor 
shortly. He entered the cell and went up to the 
prisoner, still almost unconscious on the chair, with the 
wardresses holding her limbs outstretched. " There is 
an order for your release from the Home Secretary, 
Number Thirty-three/* he announced to her formally. 


Dr. Sawyer and the five wardresses looked at one 
another in stupefaction. 

"That will be enough^ I think. Sawyer/' said Dr. 
Blount, handing him the telegram. 

The wardresses relaxed their hold and stood up. 
Sawyer drew the tube slowly out of the patient's throat. 
Mary gazed blankly at the Governor, then closed her 
eyes, too exhausted to speak or to take in the purport 
of his speech. 

" Lay her on the bed," said Dr. Blount shortly to 
the wardresses; and they obeyed. 

" Whatever's the meaning of thisP" whispered the 
old wardress to Dr. Sawyer. He shrugged his shoul- 

" Here, clear away these things," said Dr. Blount, 
and four of the assistant wardresses left the cell, taking 
the instruments of torture with them. 

The matron advanced, placing a pillow in place of 
the wooden block at Mary's head. " Is that better?" 
she asked kindly. 

" Thank you," Mary murmured, without opening her 

Coming up to the bedside, the Governor looked at 
her anxiously. " Is she all right?" he inquired. 

" She will be in a minute, sir," said the matron. 

" She is perfectly right, now," said Dr. Blount im- 
patiently. " They all go through this sort of per- 
formance—but, of course, we have only given a quarter 
the right amount as yet.'* 

" Just as well," said the matron, aside, to herself. 

The Governor addressed the prisoner as though rous- 
ing a sleepy person from lethargy: 

" You will be released to-day. Number Thirty-three 
you understand?" 

Mary, opening her eyes, turned them slowly on him. 

"Me? Why?'* 


*' By order of the Home Secretary/' said the Gov- 
ernor distinctly. 

With a great effort Mary repeated: 

" Home Secretary? I don't understand/' she added in 
deep perplexity. " Are we all released? There is one 
— ^Miss Clegg— her heart is not nearly as strong as 


" We have no information about other prisoners/' 
replied the Governor. " You are released because 
your condition having been reported^ it is thought 
advisable to release you, since there might be some 
slight risk in forcible feeding, after your long and 
wilful self-starving. Until this order was received for 
your release, the doctors were obliged to proceed with 
their previous instructions for forcible feeding, as 
further starvation on your part would have meant risk 
to your life. You women place us all in a most diffi- 
cult and trying position." 

Mary looked at him, and for a moment he felt as 
though they had changed places. 

" Your remedy is easy/' she said. ** Do justice — 
treat us as you do the Irish political prisoners.** 

*' I have nothing to do with it— the magistrates and 
the Home Secretary refuse to admit that you are 
political offenders,'* bluirtered the Governor. 

" Yet two Cabinet Ministers admitted we were so.*' 
Mary's voice was so faint he could only just catch the 


••At the Bow Street trial in 1908." 

•• Bow Street trial? I know nothing about Bow Street 
trials," he replied, '• but I do know you are risking 
your life by your foolish, wilful conduct." He turned 
to go, then pausing at the door, added: *• My advice to 
you is to give it up, this folly. Good morning." 

Dr. Blount turned to his companion: 


'* Well, Sawyer, we*Il proceed next door, as there are 
seventeen more of them to be dealt with/' he remarked 

'* Have their hearts been tested as carefully as mine? 
Miss Clegg's^ for instance?** asked Mary, her eyes, 
under the excitement of the moment, getting back all 
their living power. Dr. Blount turned his back and 
made no reply, but Dr. Sawyer came to her bedside 
and said with a sneer: 

" Let me tell you I don't myself consider there is the 
least risk in forcibly feeding you twice a day. It'ud 
do you good I You are better already for die small 
amount I was able to get down." 

'* Well, I do beg you both, in the name of pity, and 
of our conmion humanity " — Mary appealed to them 
both with simpl6 earnestness — *' you doctors who know 
what pain we poor human creatures must suffer, which 
no skill of yours can prevent, cause no needless suffer- 
ing to these brave women.*' 

Dr. Blount turned on her with a show of indignation. 

" What do you mean? We fed you precisely as we 
do our hospital patients and lunatics in asylums," he 

" The poor lunatics, maybe," Mary replied, " but 
your hospital patients, do you stretch them on a chair, 
wrench their heads back, with five people to hold 
them, and force down a tube far too thick and too 
long? And you. Dr. Blount, is it a part of your duty 
to use such violence as to bruise your victim's jaw, 
and then mock at her anguish? If not, I beg you not to 
treat any woman so again— of any class." 

Dr. Blount turned away muttering, and packing up 
his instruments. 

" You see how much better you are," jeered young 
Sawyer. " See how you can talk — instructing us in 
our duty, all round I" 


The look Mary turned on him made him feel as 
though shrivelling, both outwardly and inwardly. 

'* Fortunately for me you were stopped before you 
had given more than a quarter of the dose you had 
prepared/' she said quietly. " Again, I entreat you, 
do not give a quart all at once to a woman who has 
starved for five, or even three days — I have been a 
nurse— I know." 

" A nurse's first duty is to obey the doctor. Pity 
you omitted to learn that," replied Sawyer, making a 
futile attempt to regain his normal size. 

" There's a lady come to see you and take you away 
in her carriage," said the matron, entering quickly and 
handing Mary a card. " When can she be ready to 
start. Dr. Blount?" 

" Whenever she likes," he answered shortly. 

With difficulty, by the dim light, Mary read the 
card. " ' Mrs. Horace Boulder,' " and in pencil on the 
back: "'I've made them release you, Molly dear I 
Bobbie and I are come to take you away— Hurrah I Be 
quick and come. Your loving coz, Helen.' " 

" So this is Helen's doing I Cruel, when she knows 
how I must feel about it," sighed Mary. She turned 
to the matron: " I do not wish to be released unless my 
friends are also— I refuse to go," she said. 

" You've no choice," said the matron. " We've got 
to turn you out. I'll send the wardress with your 
clothes, you must get up at once." 

" Nothing satisfies you Suffragettes," observed Dr. 
Sawyer, recovering his ease. " Well, Blount, having 
received our instructions for future behaviour, we'll say 
good morning to this lady." He left with a mock bow. 

Dr. Blount was following, when Mary called him 

" Dr. Blount, one moment, please " — ^he turned awk- 
wardly and reluctantly. " Will you shake hands and 


forgive me for my plain speaking.*' Mary held out 
her hand: " Never forget all we women share the same 
sex as your mother. Dr. Blount/* she added with gentle 

The thick hide was pierced. Unexpectedly and sud- 
denly the man found himself humbly taking the hand 
held out to him. Very respectfully he bowed over it 
as he said huskily : 

" You are a generous woman, Miss O'Neil — I will 
not forget/' and hurried from the cell. 



It was the beginning of February and the North- 
Country lay deep in snow. Jenny had been out of 
prison just three weeks, and was looking almost like her 
old self again, though the month of torture in the form 
of forcible feeding which she had endured, by order 
of the Government as an answer to the Hunger Strike, 
had told severely on her heart and whole nervous 
system. For Jenny and her seventeen companions, 
having no cousins among those in high places, had 
served out their full sentences to the bitter — very bitter 
end, in spite of weak hearts and fainting fits. 

After a fortnight's compulsory rest in bed, under 
Mrs. Wilmot*s care, Jenny had gone back to the old 
home in Greyston to work up the Movement thete by 
organising meetings, and starting new centres in that 
part of the country where men as well as women were 
waking to the enormous economic significance of Wo- 
man's Suffrage. 

Jenny's home had undergone many changes since she 
left on that first memorable journey to London. Mr. 
Clegg, after an illness of six months, the result of a 
paralytic stroke, had departed this life to carry on his 
education elsewhere. He had learnt much during the 
last six months on earth, however; among other things, 
that great educator, a sick-bed, had brought out in 
him not only an unsuspected capacity for patience, but 
a quite remarkable appreciation of his poor wife. He 



seemed to have had some curious notion that directly 
he was disabled and laid low, his family, having him 
at such disadvantage, would turn and pay off old 
scores. It was not only an eye-opener, but a heart- 
opener, to find the pathetic devotion and deference of 
his wife unchanged, and that of his children, hitherto 
not very conspicuous, increased fourfold. With all the 
dignity and ceremony of a dying Abraham, he gave 
his blessing and pardon to the unfortunate Liz for her 
unpopular marriage, while she knelt sobbing at his 
bedside. Heaven knew, and so did all Greyston, her 
repentance for the act was sincere, having begun on 
the marriage night itself. Rumours came from afar 
that Sam had taken up with a lady of light character, 
and what money did pass through his fingers he spent 
with her — Sam had always been '* gay,*' as his wife 
called it. But Liz was thankful enough to be able 
to work for her children in peace and safety. 

Mr. Clegg's family impoverished themselves for 
weeks in order to combine in " putting him away " with 
due funeral honours. A mourning coach, with two black 
horses of appalling lugubriousness, followed the hearse, 
wherein were packed seven mourners, each in new suits 
of black. Mrs. Clegg knew with what melancholy joy 
the spirit of her departed spouse, if still hovering round 
as she believed, would view this last tribute of affection 
and respect. 

Jenny, also, had received her pardon, and her father 
had listened to the Woman's programme for " making 
the nation better and happier " with a dim wonder as 
to whether perhaps there was not something in it aftef 
all. " Something for them young ones as is coming on 
— but it will na do for yo' mother, lass — so dinna ye try 
it. Her does verra well as her is, to my thinkin'." 

With which sentiments Jenny quite agreed. 

Maggie Hopton's trial was at last to take place. 


Six months she had been on remand — six months of 
dire misery and suspense, to end in the realisation of 
that awful nightmare when the judge would put on his 
black cap, and condemn her to be hanged by the neck 
till she died. It was wonderful that a girl of Maggie's 
slight, nervous physique and temperament, still retained 
her reason. 

News of her had reached Mary O'Neil through the 
kindly, grey-haired chaplain, and that news was en- 
couraging, for he had found the way to her confidence, 
first opened out by Mary. 

Mary, though she declared herself in perfect health, 
had undergone, both mentally and physically, a great 
strain, from which she had not yet recovered, though 
immediately on her release she had insisted on rushing 
oflf to her friends in Bristol, to help in the women's 
fight at the general election then in full swinj;. 

The country had now spoken, but with an uncertain 
voice, and though the Liberals had come back into 
power it was with greatly lessened majorities, and in 
many cases, greatly lessened prestige. 

The elections over, Mary had come up to Lancashire 
to spend a fortnight with Alice and Bobbie — reigning 
in state at Brackenhill while their parents were abroad 
— ^before returning to her mother in Ireland. Her chief 
object being to see and help Jenny. 

It was a cold, bright winter's day in January. The 
Clegg's kitchen looked very cosy with its big fire and 
shining brass pots and pans. There was a fire in the 
parlour too this afternoon, for '* company " was ex- 
pected for tea, and the sofa, now long discarded by 
Peter, had been drawn up ready for the guest — no 
other, of course, than Mary O'Neil. 

There was a knock at the door, and Mrs. Clegg 
opened it to admit her neighbour, Mrs. Toppin. 

" I've brought you summat you may well be prood 


to look upon. Miss' Clegg/' she said^ unfolding a large 
frame carefully wrapt up. '* Not many mothers can 
beat that for good readin', and Jim has turned out a 
tidy frame^ I will say, though bein* his mother I sup- 
pose I oughtn't to praise my own flesh and blood." 

Mrs. Clegg examined the frame and its contents 
with admiration, not unmixed with awe. 

** It do look fine, Miss' Toppin," she said. " Your 
Jim's gran' frame seems to a-glorified un out of all 
knowledge. Fust time as I've bin fair sorry I'm no 
scholard* Read un over agin, will yo'? I reckon I'll 
sune knaw it wi'out me specs." 

" I'll read it fast enough— 'tis good hearin' for any 
mother in the land— were she the Queen of all Eng- 
land," laughed Mrs. Toppin* *' But mind you. Miss' 
Clegg, not a tear-drop till I've finished— if you start in 
the middle that sets me kind o' chokin', an' I cawn't 
do jestice to it." 

" rU try m;e best," Mrs. Clegg promised, " but a 
good cry do seem times a wonderful refreshment, most 
like a cup o' tea." 

She sat down in the chimney-comer all attention^ 
while her friend stood firmly planted, and gave out as 
to a street meeting: 

"To Jenny— I beg your pardon, • Jane Clegg ' 
I wud say — 

" On be'alf of all women who will win 
freedom by the bondage which you have 
endured for their sake, and dignity by the 
humiliation which you have gladly suffered 
for the uplifting of our sex. We, your sister 
women, herewith express our deep sense of 
ad-mi-ration and gratitude for your courage 
in enduring, a long period " (" aye» an' that it 


wur," interpolated Mrs. Toppin with feeling) 
*' of solitary confinement in prison, together 
with the torture of forcible feeding *' (her voice 
dropped to a mere whisper at the two last 
words) " for the cause of Women's Enfran- 
chisementy thereby renderin* great service to 
the Women's Movement for the upliftin' not 
only of all women, but of the race." 

She paused a moment and looked at her 
solitary listener, whose withered hand now 
covered her eyes. Then she continued vigor- 
ously : 

" Inspired by your passion for freedom and 
right, may we and the women who come after 
us be ever ready to foUer your example of 
self-forgetfulness and self-conquest; ever 
ready to obey the call of dooty, and to answer 
to the appeal of the oppressed." 

A suppressed^ though audible, sniff came from the 

" You went off before I got to ' prison,' " remarked 
Mrs. Toppin reproachfully. 

" No, no. Miss' Toppin, not afoor ' passion for free- 
dom,' " protested Mrs. Clegg, " 'tis that olez upsets 
me— it do seem wonderful, cum to think o* my Jenny 
bein' writ oop sO— an' yo' too, Miss' Toppin, w'o'd 
think it to luk at yo' I and all the awful things as you've 
bin thru I" 

" But us be feightin' so'gers. Ain't they always 
liable to imprisonment?" said Mrs. Toppin cheerfully. 
'* Theer's a' sorts, thick an' thin> long an' short, rich an' 
poor, auld an' young in this army, and that's one 
reason we're sure to win I • . . Wheere yo' goin' to fix 
un now 'tis framed?" she held up the testimonial 
against the wall. 


" Right over the manteli 'neath 'er granmuther's 
tombstone/* said Mrs. Clegg promptly. The subject 
had kept her awake many an hour before the decision 
had been made. " Tis as fine a tombstone as ye*d 
see on a day*s journey — Jenny*ull be prood to 'ang 
'longside.*' With humble pride Mrs. Clegg pointed 
to a photograph in black-and-gold frame on the wall. 

" You cudn't do better by un, Miss* Clegg. I 
wonder what 'er fayther'd a said, if 'e*d a-lived to see 
this day." 

" My pore 'usban* tuk things werry quiet a'ter 'is 
stroke— I reckon 'e'd a put oop wi' it," remarked the 
widow thoughtfully. 

Mrs. Toppin's honest brown eyes sought the ceiling. 
She had seen Mr. Clegg rarely during his regenerate 
days, but she trusted that an upward direction was the 
right one for her location of him. 

" Here they be surely," said Mrs. Clegg suddenly, as 
a carriage drove up, and she hastened to open the door. 

Mary O'Neil, her dark furs sprinkled with snow, 
came in with a smile of glad greeting. Jenny led her 
to Peter's old sofa, and insisted, in spite of her protests, 
on her lying down and putting up her feet, in proof that 
she felt quite at home^ which Mary declared she always 
did in that house. Then Mary had to hear all the 
family news not already told her by Jenny during their 
drive; also all about Mrs. Toppin's six boys and 
girls; and, lastly, an account of how the Movement was 
growing in Greyston, "men as well as women troopin* 
in,'* said Mrs. Toppin, " just as the animals went into 
the ark." 

An indignation meeting was to be held that evening 
to express the views of the women of Greyston with 
regard to a recent speech from a Cabinet Minister, 
who when questioned in the House conceminjg the treat- 
ment of two Suffragette prisoners on remand— women 


who had been refused bail though they promised good 
behaviour, and subjected to forcible feeding and other 
indignities — ^had answered by denying the charge of bad 
treatment, and declaring that these ladies had refused 
to promise good behaviour. He was doubtless the 
victim of unreliable information, but these North-Coun- 
try women, at the bar of their tribunal, adjudged him 
guilty, and found no such excuse valid. 

" I wonder 'e wasn't afraid of bein' struck down, 
like Ananias," remarked Jenny hotly. 

•• Right you are, Jenny Clegg," said Mrs, Toppin. 
** But those good old days seem to be past and over, 
more*s the pity." 

" We mustn't mention Ananias in connection with 
Cabinet Ministers,*' said Mary O'Neil, " we must say 
he was guilty of a terminological inexactitude." She 
was still sore at her release, and the way it had been 

" We've got a shorter name for it in the old weavin'- 
shed," remarked Mrs, Toppin tartly. "I'd like to 
get that Cabinet Minister in there for the dinner-hour 
one day and learn him a lesson.'* 

But Mrs. Clegg shook her head doubtfully. 

" I reckon we've got enough to do wi' our own 
shortcomin's and our own dooties. Well, I must be 
goin' to see to the tea. You'll stay an' tak a cup wi* 
Miss O'Neil an' all of us. Miss' Toppin?" She turned 
to her neighbour, wh^ was making ready to go by 
throwing her shawl over her head. 

Mrs. Toppin excused herself on the plea that she 
had much to do preparing the club-room for that night's 
meeting, and went forth into the snow which was now 
falling tiiickly, 

Jenny took a low stool and sat by Mary's sofa. 

" You're not fit to go to Ireland yet awhile," she 
said, looking anxiously at the transparent delicate face, 


and then at the long thin hands. " Those hands/' she 
went on, " have about as much flesh on them as 
Mother's washing pegs." 

Mary smiled down on her: 

" They're always like that, but you don't know how 
strong they are. I must go to my Mother, for she is 
not well — ill with anxiety about me, I fear, which is 
quite unnecessary, for I am really perfectly well now. 
I only wish you were as well and strong, Jenny 
my dear.'* She looked at Jenny's pale little face 

But Jenny answered reassuringly : 

" Oh, I'll be all right now I can breathe the fresh 
air and work; and now that daily torture— that night- 
mare—is over.'* 

Mary looked at her with swimming eyes : 

*' To think of their daring to release me while they 
kept yoa there I Jenny, when I think of it I feel • . • 
Well, I know what Russian people feel, and I under- 
stand why they do the things they do I " 

Both were silent for a while. Then Mary said 
suddenly : 

" I suppose we shall know about poor little Maggie 

Jenny bowed her head in silence. 

" It will be a good thing for Peter when the trial's 
over," said Mary. " He seems unable to settle to any- 
thing. I saw him this morning and persuaded him to 
go and ask the head-gardener to take him back ; he was 
getting on so well.'* 

" Joe's just the same," said Jenny. " He won't 
come near us, and he has thrown up everything he was 
booked for this last month, I hear. I've only seen 
him once since I came home, and then he talked so 
wild I'm fearing any day what he may do." 

"To the man, you mean?'* 


Jenny nodded. 

" Well, having soundly horse- whipped him, I think 
he ought to leave the scoundrel alone—no good purpose 
can be served by attacking him a second time." 

Again there was silence between them for a space, 
then Jenny said again: 

"And ifs to-morrow they'll try her I" 

" Poor little Maggie/' sighed Mary. *' I'm thankful 
I met her in prison. It was strange my not guessing 
at once, but she looked so old for a young girl— she 
seemed a woman— worn out and weary of life. I never 
could have imagined the girl you told me about, like 

" I can never be thankful enough you did meet her,'* 
said Jenny, " and so is Joe. Poor Maggie, she never 
meant any harm— and she wasn't really as silly as she 
often acted, she behaved so because — ^well, she found it 
was what took the men — ^and she got her head turned. 
. . . But Peter would just die for her sake." 

Mary was lost in thought. Jenny's words showed 
it was the same in all classes — the woman trying to 
mould herself to the pattern admired of man, even if 
it meant annihilating her true self, and consequent 
deterioration and moral ruin. 

Jenny also fell into a reverie. In the adjoining 
kitchen she could hear her mother preparing tea, and 
voices which tried to be subdued, told that the three 
younger children had come in and knew of the guest's 
arrival. Outside it was already dark, but the newly* 
fallen snow gave out a strange, white shimmering light. 

There was a sudden sharp knock at the outer door, 
and Jenny rose with a start. 

"That's Joe HoptonI" she said. 

She proved right. He paused at the threshold, 
seeing Mary O'Neil. 

" I hoj>e I don't intrude • , • but I've 

• • • 


They both begged him enter^ and Jenny drew a 
chair for him near the fire. He did not take it, but 
stood there, rigid and snow-covered. 

" I've just come from Chesterpool," he said hoarsely. 
•• My sister is sentenced. ..." 

"When? To-day?" cried Jenny breathlessly. 

" I thought it was to be to-morrow/' said Mary. 

*• They changed the day," Joe answered shortly. 
" My sister has been sentenced to be hanged." 

"Oh no— no— not that?" Jenny burst into tears. 

" Oh, but that's merely a form," Mary broke in 
eagerly. " Thank God, only a mere form— we all know 
that, Mr. Hopton. And the case is in such good hands 
that her reprieve is certain — ^absolutely certain. Do 
come and sit down here and tell us all about the trial, 
and how the poor child bore gp — we are both so 
deeply concerned, you see, and have been so longing 
for news." 

Jenny went up to him quietly and helped him off 
with his coat. Joe Hopton sat down stiffly and spoke 
in a hard, even voice: 

" The judge and a jury of twelve just men have 
found a sick, distraught young girl guilty of murder — 
fine justice! The real criminal don't come into it at 
all. When the judge, sittin' up there like God Al- 
mighty, put on the black cap and passed sentence of 
hanging on h^r, she let out a scream — I can hear it 
still— I shall hear it till I die— then she fainted. It's 
a pity she didn't die then and there^ and be done with 
it all for ever." 

" Don't say that, Joe," said Jenny, tears raining 
down her face. " Maggie'uU live to be happy yet. 
She'll soon be let out— Mrs. Wilmot says she is sure the 
public sympathy will be so strong with all this big 
Womien's League workin* for it, they'll never keep 'er 
more than two or three years in prison*" 


" Mrs. Wilmot was in court.** — Joe spoke more 
quietly. — " It is women like her should judge such 
cases, and sit on the juries too, not a set of tough, hard 
men, all bent on shieldin' the man who is one of them- 

" That's what we've thought for some time past, 
since the days of Effie Deans and Hetty Sorel and all 
the long, sad procession of victims down to Daisy 
Lord," said Mary O'Neil. 

'* Did Mrs. Wilmot say she'd been able to |get 
Peter's letter to Maggie?" inquired Jenny. 

" I know nothing of Peter's letter," said Joe gloomily, 
" but I do know this, PU never consent to my sister 
bringing disgrace on any honest man. It'll be my 
business to look after poor Maggie, if she lives to 
come out." 

" But, Mr. Hopton," Mary interrupted earnestly, 
" don't you know it's the one great hope of Peter's life 
to be able to care for Maggie when she's free? You'd 
have no right to try and prevent it, if Maggie is willing 
to marry him — you'd be spoiling two lives and perhaps 
your own too. I feel sure my kind, good chaplain will 
get the letter to Maggie. He'll be a true friend to her, 
never fear— he knows her story and he is heart and 
soul with the women now " 

" Then why don't he and his cloth denounce the men 
that bring these things about?*' demanded Joe, clench- 
ing his hand and raising his voice. '* I'll tell you for 
why— because they take the front pews and hand the 
bag and figure as pillars of the church, aye, that's why 
it is. Why don't the newspapers cry shame on them 
neither? Same tale over again. There's no one to do 
justice on such scoundrels — ^the whole world is inter- 
ested in shieldin' them. Well, I'll do justice on one of 
them." He rose as though to be off at once. " He's 
gone abroad for change of air, they say— hci shall have 


lore change of air, to a different sort of climate, 

illet can take 'im there " 

'h Joe, don't do it," Jenny implored, her face 
.ng very white, " no good can come of it. Miss 
il says so too." She turned to Mary. 
i think in thrashing him as you did you've done all 
is possible, or desirable," said Mary. " We don't 
1 you to spoil all your future usefulness and service 

■ our country by an act of revenge '* 

Not revenge, just retribution," said Joe, his mouth 
in a hard, deep line, '^ nothing more nor less than 
.J, even-handed justice." 

' Justice demands that he should suffer imprison- 
jnt and shame," answered Mary, her eyes flashing; 
your bullet would bring him neither." 
*'Aye^ that's true I" muttered Joe gloomily. 
" Throw your energy into changing these bad, un- 
ast laws, Mr. Hopton, so that in future such men shall 
.iot go scot-free while their victims bear such a heavy 
overload of punishment.'* 

" If half, or even a tenth, of the men in England 
felt like you do now^ Joe," said Jenny^ " it wouldn't 
take a year to change those laws." 

"Or if women had the vote I*' added Mary O'Neil. 
Joe looked from one to the other; the hardness went 
out of his face: "Yes, if you women had the vote— it's 
true I" he cried with sudden passionate conviction. 
"I've been cominj^ to see it this year past— little by 
little. Now I see it clear and plain. In a thousand 
ways you need it— you women need it more than ever 
we men did, and God knows we needed it badly enough. 
I will help you— you women who have helped me — even 
when I was against your cause — you women who are 
always helpin' us men one way or another— you shall 
have your vote, your just share in the law-making as 
well as law-keeping. Instead of arresting five hundred 


women, they shall have five thousand men to arrest, so 
many, no prisons shall hold us. We'll make it so hot 
for them, they shall give you your vote.*' 

'* Well spoken, Joseph Hopton — ^such words rejoice 
one's heart, don't they, Jenny? Men and women should 
pull together in this great fight — ^it's you men we've 
needed all along •* 

" I always knew you'd come over to us some day, 
Joe,** said Jenny, her eyes glistening. 

The door opened and Mrs. Clegg called out from 
the kitchen beyond: 

*• Jenny, here's Sally bringing Miss O'Neil's tea — 
mind she doan't spill it." 

" But I'm coming to have it with you all in the 
kitchen, Sally—why, that's the treat I have been prom- 
bing myself all this afternoon," said Mary, rising. 

" You'd be best in here," said Jenny. " The chil- 
dren make such a clatter." 

But Mary declared she loved the clatter and went 
quickly into the kitchen, closing the door behind her. 
Jenny had no choice but to turn to Joe and ask him to 
come in and join the family at tea. 

"No, thanks— I must be going," he answered shortly. 
He put on his great coat and Jenny watched him, long- 
ing for words to express something of the great wave 
of sympathy overwhelming her, but finding none. He 
walked towards the outer door, then turned abruptly, 
and spoke half-hesitatingly, nervously: 

"There's just one thing I'd like to say, Jenny, 
'fore we part— I want to apologise for those words I 
spoke to you. I mean— what I said to you about that 
man— that son of Mrs. Wilmot's. I'd no business to 
interfere with you, not in any sort of way— he's all 
right I ^ake no doubt. . . .'^ 

Jenny looked at his averted face, puzzled and per- 
plexed how best to answer. 


" Oh yes, he's all right, Joe— you— you just made a 
mistake, that's all — ^think no more about it," she said 
with forced cheerfulness. 

Joe took a few steps to the window and looked out 
absently on the silent, snow-covered street. 

" As to thinkin' no more," he said slowly, " we can't 
control thoughts — but I do hope sincerely you'll be 
happy with him, Jenny." 

His back was turned to her. Jenny could not see 
his face. 

" Happy with him? Happy with Mr. Wilmot? I 
hope you don't mean anything of the sort." She came 
up behind him and put her hand lightly as the falling 
snow, upon his arm. " Joe, you know there's only one 
man I'd ever be happy with — you know that?" Her 
voice was very low — her heart beat wildly. She felt 
her happiness for all her life was at stake now. 

" Don't speak to me that soft way, Jenny. Do you 
want to madden me?" He shook off her hand angrily. 
" Do you think I'd ever ask you, or any decent girl 
for that matter, to be my wife, with my poor sister 
condemned to be hanged for murder? And you I — you, 
who I chucked because I wouldn't take a jail-bird I" 
He laughed bitterly, and turned away. 

But Jenny was not to be shaken off. Again she put 
her hand on his arm. 

" Joe, listen to me— you must— you shall listen. Don't 
turn your head away from me— just look into my eyes." 
She pulled him round gently and lifted her eyes to 
his. " Look,'^ she said, almost in a whisper. 

But the whisper was more compelling than a trumpet 

Slowly, reluctantly, Joe turned and looked into 
Jenny's eyes. 

" Well," he said sternly, "I see tears in your eyes 
—tears of pity— I don't want your pity, Jenny." 


Jenny held his gaze still, and smiled through her 

" You're not such a mighty good reader^ Joe, if 
that's what you see. It isn't pity — IVe never so much 
as thought of pitying you, I've been so taken up 
with " — she hesitated, but only to give more emphasis 
to what was coming — " with loving you, Joe. I've 
never loved any other man all my life except you. 
Maggie is going to be my sister too, d'you see, Joe 
dear, so we can both help her till she marries Peter. 
If there's any disgrace, why we'll bear it together, you 
an' me, and that will mean we'll never feel it at all. 
If folks love each other sorrow doesn't part them, it 
binds them closer. Joe, if you'd read true in my eyes, 
you'd have seen how it will be the great joy of my. 
life to stand by your side always, as I stand now, 
leaning on your arm, my head on your shoulder — for 
better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and 
in health, till death us do part." 

Then Joe turned, and with sudden opening of the 
sluice gates, he clasped her in his arms, surrendering 
wholly as he cried: 

"• Jenny I my own lass I" ' 




The balconies of the Lyceum Club in Piccadilly were 
crowded with the members, and their friends both men 
and women, assembled, like the vast crowds beloWi to 
see the great Procession of Women pass by* From 
thirty to forty thousand women of every class, of 
every age, of every shade of opinion, social, political, 
and religious, banded, welded together, in a solid com- 
pact whole, by one unswerving purpose. 

Alice Walker had brought a friend of her Paris 
Schooldays, Miss Penelope Otis, of Philadelphia, to see 
the show. Penelope in no way shared Alice's ever- 
deepening interest and sympathy in the Woman's Move- 
ment. She looked on Suffragists and " Antis " equally 
as very tiresome, boring people, and did wish, when the 
subject was discussed in her presence, that they would 
" talk about something more sensible and amusing." 
Penelope thought, however, the great spectacle to-day 
might be entertaining; she wanted, besides, to see every- 
thing typically English. And so it fell out that she 
found herself watching with a kind of eager, curious 
interest for the coming of those queer, unaccountably 
fanatical creatures, the Suffragists and the Suffragettes, 
who were uniting the forces of all their various societies 
in the biggest political procession and demonstration 
the streets of London had perhaps ever as yet witnessed, 
though it was but a foreshadowing of what would come 



Had Terence O'Neil been in Town instead of with 
his regiment in Ireland, it is certain his betrothed would 
never have been permitted thus heedlessly to wander 
into what he considered such dangerous paths. Poor 
Terence, he felt sore enough already at his sister having 
thrown herself headlong into the crazy movement, not 
only having suffered the disgrace of arrest and im- 
prisonment, but the danger of a long Hunger Strike 
and the torture of forcible feeding. Had it not been 
for the intervention of Helen Boulder, her life itself 
might have been (sacrificed. It was certainly not Mary's 
fault that it was not so, for she had bitterly resented 
being reprieved. 

Alice had found herself in the very difficult situation 
of being obliged to show sympathy to her beloved 
Terence and his grievance, while all her woman's heart 
went out in secret admiration, bordering on worship, 
for his sister. It was with Mary's mother Alice felt 
most at ease; together they wept over Mary's splendid 
folly, and knelt in such humble admiration at her 
shrine that they would no more have dared interfere 
for her reprieve, when in prison, than burn incense 
to a heathen idol on behalf of a Christian martyr. 

From the first Alice determined it would be best to 
say just as little in her daily letter to Terence of howi 
she and Penelope were spending this summer afternoon, 
as she had said of the famous dinner party. She would 
mention it, of course, but in her own gentle and re- 
assuring way— directing his attention mainly to some 
funny incident which should disarm suspicion and alarm. 
Alice Walker was one of those young women who, 
while impressing their menkind with their pliability 
and malleability, retain intact an absolute inflexibility of 
character, the hardest of all natures to be influenced or 
convinced from the outside, being fundamentally lacking 
in the suppleness which appears to mere man their 


chief charm. To know them he has to marry them, and 
even then, such is the guilelessness of many of the 
self-styled superior sex, that after years of matrimony : 

" A daisy (or an Alice) by the river's brim, 
A simple Alice 'tis to him, 
And it is nothing more." 

These Alices are the wise virgins who, to rectify in 
some measure the handicapped conditions under which 
they find their sex suffering, have developed to a fine 
point woman's inexhaustible resource and wit. Not in- 
frequently they are forced like the stream which flows 
in spite of all obstacles to the sea, round circuitous by- 
paths and subterranean ways, but they invariably attain 
their goal in due time. 

Among the crowd on the balcony, like a strange 
migratory bird, strayed into this Western world by 
mistake, appeared the dark, dreamy face of a young 
Indian. Someone introduced him by an unpronounce- 
able name to Alice Walker and her friend, and he took 
a seat beside them. He was of the Brahmin caste, a 
lawyer going through a course at the Middle Temple, 
and already extraordinarily at home with the English 

Just below the people were massing together; the 
usual good-natured London crowd, out to be amused, 
ready to laugh uproariously at the feeblest flicker of 
wit from the crowd jester, that jocose, public-spirited, 
young man who pops up as inevitably on such occasions 
as the froth on gingerbeer. 

The big luminous eyes of the Indian watched every- 
thing about him' with interest— the interest of a sphinx 
in the doings of an ant-heap. He listened attentively 
to the laughing chatter of the two girls, and his eyes 
met their frank, blue gaze discreetly. At first he spoke 
but little, merely a few words of polite assent when 


they turned and included him in their conversation, but 
those few words showed he had plenty more at his 
command • 

" He looks quite nice and tame/' whispered Penelope 
Otis to her friend, " but he probably has the most 
horrible Oriental ideas about women, if we could see 
inside him.*' 

" How exciting I " said Alice. " Do get him to turn 
himself inside out — you can, if anybody could — I expect 
he looks upon us with horror." 

" Horror, my dear? Fascinated admiration, that's 
more like it. And I'm not sure those magnetic eyes 
of hb aren't just fascinating me. He's very in- 

Penelope Otis had been brought up in an atmosphere 
of intellectual and moral culture. From her earliest 
schoolroom days she had imbibed the higher, if not 
the highest, education. Her reasoning powers had 
been well developed, but the imagination had not kept 
pace with them. Everything interested her, nothing 
had as yet touched her. She was travelling now to 
complete her mental equipment, and while eagerly ab- 
sorbing new impressions she viewed life much as a 
spectator at the play, a spectator in the comfortable 
stalls. The play this afternoon was ^' very interest- 
ing " — she " just loved it " — " it was so typically 
English I'' said Penelope, turning to the young Indian 
beside her. 

" Very English— very Western," he made answer 

" I think it is exclusively English," sh6 maintained. 
" This dear old country and its inhabitants are unique, 
absolutely unique, and quite too deliciously entertaining, 
whatever they do." 

" Don't you have Suffrage processions in America?" 
asked Alice^ with some asperity, not quite appreciating 


the r61e allotted to England as a source of perennial 
entertainment for the young American tourist. 

*' Well, it's like this with us/' her friend answered 
soothingly. " We couldn't have anything in this style, 
there's no rdson dCttre for it. If we wanted the vote 
our men wouldn't dream of opposing us — they know 
their place far too well. Our Women's deputations 
are received at Washington with just the same respect 
and consideration as those of the men— while here 
you're so delightfully mediaeval — that's what I just love 
about you — it's like getting a peep into the dear old 
Middle Ages, isn't it?" She turned again to the serious 
young Oriental. 

" With us again it is so different, you see. Our 
ideas do not change about eternal verities-^what they 
were in the Middle Ages that they are to-day." He 
gave a sbiile, whimsical, mysterious, his eyes seemed to 
be looking at the same moment back into the past and 
out into the future. 

"Eternal verities?" repeated Penelope, "but don't 
you believe in progress, in the march of civilisation?" 

The Brahmin shook his head: 

" Not as you do. These are outward things — super- 
ficial we would say — of no importance. Civilisation is 
but the turning of the wheel of time— there is no pro- 
gress save that of the soul, and for that many incarna- 
tions are necessary." 

Alice looked at him curiously as she asked : 

" Do you believe that the same person is incarnated 
both as a man and a woman?'* 

" Certainly— many times a man and many times a 

" Then,'* struck in Penelope, poaching in her unscru- 
pulous way on Alice's thought, " why don't you see 
your women have a better time? You should remember 
you'll benefit by it probably in your next life yourself.'* 


" Benefit? But to us it would be no benefit, quite 
the reverse. If for the evolution of a soul it is sent *to 
live as a woman on earth, it is to learn those lessons 
which the woman's life alone can teach.'* 

" And by that you mean to view the world behind 
shutters and veils, and have the pokiest time you tyrants 
of men can devise/' laughed Penelope lightly. 

But the Indian answered solemnly: 

" To learn, as the woman learns in most lives, the 
great lessons whereby the soul grows best — self-sacri- 
fice, self-abnegation, self-control, humility, the bearing 
in silence of bodily pain, obedience often to natures far 
inferior to her own; to be set at naught and little con- 
sidered; viewing this passing life from behind veils 
and shutters, as you say, that so the spirit may retire 
within and meditate on die eternal, on the unseen and 
real — this is the highest benefit/' 

Penelope found herself for the moment unaccount- 
ably extinguished by these curious Oriental ideas. She 
had no answer ready, but Alice, following every word 
with intense interest, bent forward. 

" Then you don't really despise women, I mean not 
as belonging to an inferior sex, like so many of our 
men do?" she asked. 

" How could we?" he said in gentle surprise. "A 
soul does not belong to any sex. It is educated by the 
experiences of both sexes. Only in the West, where 
you are materialists, can women be despised on account 
of sex '• 

" But you despise the brains, the judgment, of 
women, surely?" insisted Alice. 

" I do not think you can ever understand us, or think 
as we do— the first principle is different. For you of 
the West the mind grows out of the body — ^the greatec 
out of the less. With us, the soul has no sex. I honour 
my mother above all human beings-*I listen to her coun* 


sels as to the voice of God. She was Purda at the age of 
nine, and bore me, her eldest-born, when she was but 
eleven years old. She has never travelled or seen 
beyond her garden wall, and she knows nothing of 
science or literature or of foreign countries. But her 
spirit has evolved much— it is a high and noble spirit, 
and will return to earth next time as a great seer and 
perhaps a great ruler. It has learnt the lessons ap- 
pointed through many incarnations." 

" And you will probably come back as a woman, 
and live behind a shutter all your days," observed 
Penelope mbchievously. 

** It would be better perhaps for my soul, than to 
return as a beautiful young girl of America," he an- 
swered, smiling. " If one does not use well one's man- 
hood very surely one comes back as a woman, but 
not as an American lady, I think I " 

" Nor a Suffragette,*' laughed Alice. 

" Oh, a Suffragette, that b different," he answered 
seriously. " They suffer, those women. They are the 
instruments of great forces on the Other Side working 
out evolution on the material plane, but spiritually in- 
spired. No one can stop them — they cannot stop them- 
selves, even if they would. They are part of a moral 
earthquake in which they may all be immolated— they 
work out their Karma." 

" Perhaps they were Cabinet Ministers in their last 
incarnations," suggested Penelope—" tyrannical, narrow- 
minded old gentlemen." 

*' I'll tell Horace Boulder what's before him— to be 
a Suffragette in his next life," laughed Alice. *' Listen, 
here they come." 

All three leant forward as they caught the distant 
sound of martial music, the roll of drums, and the roar 
of the cheering crowd. 

" I suppose that cousin of yours, with the sweet 


Irish eyes, will be walking with the Prisoners?*' said 

•• Oh yes — Mary will be carrying a broad arrow, 
bless her/' answered Alice with a sigh. 

*• Pity she doesn't marry, she's so attractive," re- 
marked Penelope, " but I suppose she scares all the 
men with these ideas of hers " 

" She converts far more than she scares, I can tell 
you," answered Alice; "but Mary does not want to 
marry " 

"Poor dear!'* laughed Penelope; "we don^ have 
that complaint among our girls, luckily for the 
men I '* 

" I mean," said Alice, " not for the sake of being 
married— she may marry any day for the sake of the 
man, and then she wouldn't care two straws how in- 
eligible he was." 

" She's what we'd call ' a crank.' Girls like that 
oughtn't to be trusted out alone," remarked Penelope 

Louder and louder roared the cheers and rolled the 
drums. The mounted police pushed back the surging 
crowd round Hyde Park Corner, and on down Picca- 
dilly wound the great living river of women. It ap- 
peared endless, like a stream that had its source away 
in the heights of some far mountain. 

Leading the way, with banners gleaming in the sun- 
shine, marched the veterans. A gallant little company 
of women in the evening of life, whose valiant spirits, 
like bright, well-worn swords, had most of them well- 
nigh worn out the frail scabbard. But their tired 
eyes were bright with hope to-day, their step showed no 
sign of faltering or weariness, for at last the goal was 
surely within sight. Of how many times they had 
already believed it in sight they did not think. These 
were those who bad borne the toil and heat of life's 


long day — ^working, diggii)g> ploughing, sowing, since 
early womanhood. Side by side with these marched 
their younger sisters, the gallant leaders of the great 
Social and Political Union, whose heroic courage and 
devotion, even to the death test, had lifted the question 
of Woman's Enfranchisement at last into the arena of 
practical politics. 

And now surely the hour of dawn was nearing. 
Strong men and true had rallied round them. The 
Conciliation Conmiittee had been formed, and the claims 
of the women would never more be allowed to be 
pushed aside. However reluctant the Government 
might be to keep their pledges, the staunch Committee 
would see to it there was no more shuffling and shirk- 
ing. Not that their hope rested mainly on their men 
friends, however; no, it was in the great Movement 
itself, of which each woman felt she was an integral 
part, moving on like a wave with the irresistible tide, 
before which every obstacle must before long give 

Next in order came a white-clad band of women 
and girls of all classes, bearing proudly as the very 
crown and glory of their womanhood, the prisoner's 
badge of disgrace, a wand surmounted by the broad 
arrow. All eyes turned on the woman who led them« 
She had the face of one whose eyes " have seen the 
glory of the coming of the Lord.'^ She walked un- 
conscious of the cheering crowd, her feet scarcely seem- 
ing to touch the solid ground. 

Just behind her, four abreast with her companions, 
walked Mary O'Neil. 

*• There's Mary," cried Alice excitedly. " The one 
at this end." 

** Isn't she sweet?" cried Penelope Otis; *'one wouldn't 
be surprised to see a halo shine right out round her 
any moment." 


But the young Brahmin was following the leader of the 
band with wrapt, intent gaze : 

^'That woman is like a high priestess/' he said, half to 

Alice caught the words. 

" She would lay down her life for this Cause/' she 
said warmly. 

" She has laid down her life/' the Indian answered 

"Do you know her?" asked Penelope. 

" I do not know her as you would say ' know/ '* he 
answered simply, " but with her the soul is written 
on the face.'^ 

" You are quite right," said Alice, bending forward 
and speaking in low eager tones, " quite right. You 
know what she did not long ago? She had been ar- 
rested with some working women for an open protest 
against the Government, but the Home Secretary or- 
dered her release at once on the plea of a weak heart, 
the real reason being that she belongs to a well- 
known family of our aristocracy. She determined to 
show this up by disguising herself as a workgirl, 
and getting arrested again. This is what she did, 
and proved that the same heart in a workgirl 
did not procure her release from this Liberal Govern- 
ment. There was no other way— for they had indig- 
nantly denied making any differences when they had 
been accused of it.'^ 

" Wasn't it splendid," said Penelope. 

The Indian said nothing, but his luminous ieyes 
spoke his keen interest. 

•• They treated her," went on Alice, " well, just 
exactly as they did the other unfortunate working 
women, little thinking who she was. When at last 
their suspicions were aroused as to her identity, they 
at once took fright and released her." . 



" Well, it bafSes me how she ever managed to 
deceive them for a day. Her class is just stamped all 
over her/' said Penelope, who had heard the story when 
all England rang with it. 

" One such a woman is enough to ensure the success 
of any movement/* remarked the Indian; " she radiates, 
and her light is reflected on each one of those who 
follow her." 

" All very well, you know/' said a man's voice 
behind, " but this show is pure play-acting. You 
women love it— now own up, don't you?" 

" I don't know about play-acting — personally, how- 
ever devoted I .was to theatricals,* I should draw the line 
at prison," a woman's voice answered lightly. 

" Not if you thought you were going to be made into 
a heroine — come now?" 

"I'd rather sleep comfortably in my own bed than 
be a Holloway heroine, thank you," replied the lady. 

Alice Walker also had caught that look on the face 
of the woman who walked first in the prisoners' con- 
tingent, and was pondering the Indian's words. 

" What a lot of them have been in prison — old and 
young — ^and such awfully sweet-looking women some 
of them too. It is a curious country, this old England 
of yours/' observed the American girl, as the six hun- 
dred prisoners marched by, and the cheers grew warm 
with enthusiasm from the crowd below — this crowd which 
two or three years before would have assembled only 
in their hundreds, with but jeers and rotten eggs for 
these same women. The broad arrow, like the cross, 
had already worked the miracle. 

And now marched past the long deputation of women 
doctors and University students in caps and gowns and 
hoods— a goodly company, with strong, firm step, and 
young, frank, fearless faces full of purpose. 

*' Ought to have been men, they ought," said an 



elderly woman just below the Lyceum balcony : " takin* 
the men's work— 'tain't fair, I say/' Her voice rang 
with resentment. 

'•Takin' men's work? That it ain't," retorted a 
younger woman. " Doctorin' women is women's work, 
and so is teaching the girls — ^that's what I say. It's 
the men 'as taken our work, and doin' it all the time 
tool What business 'ave they sellin' ribbons and laces 
and doin' ladies' 'air, I'd like to know?" 

" 'Ere, someone, get this lady a tub to stand on," 
cried the crowd jester, " begin again. Miss, do. . . ." 
The rest was lost in the laughter of those round them. 

Above the army of women, and linking past and 
present into one great Sisterhood, floated the banners 
bearing the names or portraits of the great company 
of those who had gone before — those pioneers down the 
ages who had fought for Freedom, Justice, and Truth in 
some form or other, whether in religion, politics, science 
or art. Prophetess, Priestess, Saint, Martyr, Queen, 
Scientist and Artist. Each section bore aloft their own 
special patron. Brightest among these constellations, 
blazing with the orifiamme of France, shone the immor- 
tal name of Jeanne d'Arc. Those who followed were 
too numerous to note, but among them one caught an 
occasional flash which sent one's thought back to an- 
cient days of Egypt, Greece and Rome. Down through 
the centuries followed the lineal descendants of Miriam, 
Deborah, Sappho, Hypatia, Boadicea, down to recent 
times of such as Elizabeth Fry, Mary WoUstonecraft 
and Mrs. Somerville, the latter proudly borne aloft by 
the caps and gowns. The writers held up to the sun 
such golden names as Vittoria Colonna, Jane Austen, 
George Sand, George Eliot, Charlotte and Emily 
Bronte, Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The artists with 
the palettes and brushes walked under the portraits of 
Angelica Kaufmann, Mme. Le Brun and Rosa Bonheur. 


Beneath the banner of their patron saint, Florence 
Nightingale, walked the long line of hospital nurses 
in their small, neat bonnets and long cloaks. These 
women, with their cheery smile and gentle, patient 
skill, appealed specially to the spectators; few among 
them had not had reason to bless them. 

'* Hooray for the Women," shouted a small boy with 
a pale little face which bespoke his experience. 

*' My, ain't they a dandy lot," said a soldier, with 

Then followed the long regiment of toilers in great 
factories and industries — the women who make the 
wheels go round. The mothers of this band had lived 
under such conditions of slavery as made their own 
hard lives seem bright in comparison, for they had 
not had the bare human right to their own pitiful 
earnings, the husband legally claiming every penny. 
One of those devoted women, who took part in the 
twenty years* fight to win this inestimable boon for her 
sisters, looked out on the procession to-day as it passed 
by her windows. And her eyes, grown dim, lit with the 
old light of battle and of victory, as she noted to what 
a mighty host the women's army had grown — that army 
once a mere handful, on and ever on, still they came in 
their thousands. 

Textile workers from Lancashire and Yorkshire in 
their shawls and clogs. Swarthy, strong-limbed Welsh 
women from the pit's mouth; sweated tailoresses, doing 
Government work on sailors' and soldiers' uniforms at 
half men's pay; post office clerks, who had also ex- 
perienced the bitter difference between justice as meted 
out to those with the vote and those without; chain- 
makers from Cradley-Heath, hat-makers, bottle-makers, 
match-makers, jelly-makers, each bearing on a banner 
the emblem of their trade; on and on they came. 
Many held their babies in their arms and returned the 


greetings of the crowd of spectators with beaming 
friendly smiles to right and left. A look of steadfast 
purpose and hope shone on all these workers' faces, 
old and young alike^ And still they passed — ^the inter- 
minable miles and miles of women. 

Alice caught sight of Jenny as she marched foremost 
among the Lancashire textile workers. Jenny was to 
be married to Joe Hopton next month. He had thrown 
himself with his usual dogged fixity of purpose into 
the Women's Cause, and never intended resting, or 
letting others rest, until every sex disability had been 
removed, and justice done to women. Poor Maggie's 
awful sentence had been conmiuted to three years penal 
servitude, a period which it had been whispered might, 
by great circumspection on the prisoner's part, possibly 
be shortened another six months. 

Mrs. Wilmot had touched the spring and set a great 
machinery in motion. The veteran leader of the Free- 
dom League had rallied to her aid with all the forces 
at her disposal, and the result had been a monster 
petition to the Home Secretary with signatures both 
of a number and of a significance impossible to dis- 

Alice Walker, on hearing from Jenny of her poignant 
interest in the case, had worked too in a quiet way. 
A quiet way perforce on her parents' account, but still 
real enough to xnake her partake not only in the anxiety 
but in the joy of the reprieve. Great forces wrtr% 
working and seething in Alice's formerly complacent 
and easygoing little soul. She watched herself as 
through a looking-glass, and wondered what she would 
find herself obliged to do next. The motive power 
came from inside, a gradual unfolding, like that of a 
green shoot. Resistance and opposition, which would 
have combated outside influence, was useless here, as 
Alice, with her usual philosophy, fully realised. 


The procession continued— more, and always more, 
to come. Among the banners flashed the legends, 
" No vote no tax/* " Courage is the mother of all 
the virtues/* " Stone walls do not a prison make/* 
"Dare to be free"; and occasional reminders to 
the " Antis " and laggards, such as : " Six million women 
workers need the vote,'* " Rise ye women that be at 
ease," etcetera. 

Then came some of the " protest banners," recalling 
the lines along which the Militant Movement had passed 
— " The Police-Court protests," '* The Tax-resistance," 
"The Picketers *• — "729 hours spent picketing the 
House of Conunons to exercise the subject's historic 
right of petitioning the King's Ministers." Such weary 
hours, standing there at the closed gates in heat and 
cold, rain and snow, day after day, week after week, 
to be ridiculed and scorned by the Noel Crowleys of 
the House, execrated by the Boulders and Blathertons, 
pitied half contemptuously by the more kindly Weir- 
Kemps I Other banners told other tales, which the 
young Brahmin and the American girl spelt out with 
dispassionate interest and curiosity, while Alice Walker 
listened and watched, absorbing all in silence. 

And now the crowd below were making merry over 
a new diversion— a small delapidated trail of sandwich 
men, whom the stream was bearing on its fringe like 
the straws and sticks of debris on the edge of a flood. 
Their boards bore the comic announcement^ in letters 
of dull red on a groimd of grimy white: " Women do 
NOT want the Vote I" 

The mud, that a few years before would have been 
flung at the women, had found a new target. Gladly 
the poor sandwiches would have hidden their dimin- 
ished heads, such was the uproarious merriment they, 
excited. But they were starving, poor creatures, and 
the men who hired them expected the work to be done 


for which they paid. It was typical of the " Ami " 
that he, or she, should do their propaganda by deputy, 
and such deputies. Only when Lord Wimperdale, Mr. 
Crowley, Mrs. Prendergast and Miss Selina Crompton 
begin to parade their own sandwich boards, as the 
Suffragist women so often have done, will they convince 
the men and women in the street, or on the fence, of the 
sincerity of their purpose, let alone the righteousness 
of their Cause. 

*• Why don't the bloomin' * Antis * carry their own 
boards?" cried one of the crowd. 

•• Chuck it, Joe — ^game's up, my boy," laughed an- 

** I'll paint you up a fresh board, Bill," said a 
stout, pleasant-faced woman with a child in her arms. 
*' Men do not want their supper— t'would be about as 

*' Here's a fine banner coming," cried Penelope, 
" John Stuart Mill— and why, I declare here are a 
lot of men," she added, as the deputation of Members 
of the Men's League followed the banner of their great 

•• That's Hopton— one of the Labour Members— bear- 
ing the standard," said a guest on the balcony. "The 
women are getting no end of those fellows to join 

Alice leant forward just in time to get a good view 
of Joe Hopton as he stepped bravely forward, making 
this public declaration of his new-found faith. 

" Well, I do call this one of the most interesting 
and dramatic scenes I have ever witnessed," remarked 
Penelope Otis after, for her, a long silence. 

Alice Walker started up suddenly. 

" I want to get out," she said, " will you please let 
me pass?" 

" You want to go inside? You're feeling the sun?" 


inquired her friend, making way for her. " Shall I 
come with you?'* she asked, as Alice went inside the 

" No thank you/' Alice called back, " you stay 
where you are. I simply can't — not another minute/' 

Down the staircase she rushed and out into the 
crowded street. Her eyes sparkled, her cheek was 
flushed. A girl stood near the Club steps selling 
ribbons inscribed " Votes for Women." Alice pushed 
a shilling into her hand and seizing the ribbon, twisted 
it rapidly round her broad Panama hat with its plain 
white satin bow. 

She threaded her way through with such quiet in- 
sistence, all made way for her instinctively. A regi- 
ment of women were passing at the moment, led by a 
distinguished, erect figure, frail and spare and im- 
material as a flame, her face finely cut as a cameo. 
On her silver-grey hair she wore a black lace veil. 
Every inch a leader, she held her head high, her 
eyes had a light, a flash, that told of battles won and 
battles still to win. Before her was borne aloft a 
banner on which showed a pair of silver wings 
springing from a heart. She herself seemed more 
spirit than body, and quite ready for her own wings, 
but the sweet grey eyes smiled on the people who 
pressed forward, giving a special volley of cheers to 
greet her as she passed, with a look of warm, human 

*• God bless you." 

" Good luck to you." 

" Here's the old warrior." 

" Stick it Missus." 

" Good luck to you " — came from all sides as the 
men held up their caps and women waved their hand- 
kerchiefs to one whose invisible sceptre swayed over 
their hearts in a way exercised by no crowned sovereign. 


Alice Walker darted towards her like a lost child who 
on a sudden sees a haven. 

*' May I walk behind you? Do you mind?*' she 
gasped out breathlessly. - 

The kind grey eyes smiled down on this unexpected 

•• Do, my dear — do walk with us. Where did you 
come from?" 

Alice fell into line as she answered with a little 
laugh which was almost a sob: 

*' I was looking on just as an outsider, till I couldn't 
bear being an outsider another minute — I. want to be- 
long I" 

Suddenly she remembered Penelope, and turning, 
saw her bending over the balcony waving a handker- 

Alice waved back and then disappeared from her 
friend's sight, swallowed up by the river of women. 

*• Well — ^that's really very interesting," observed 
Penelope to the young Brahmin. " You never tan 
quite tell what these English women are going to do 
— can you now?" 

*' They cannot tell that themselves. They obey a 
Voice," said the Indian; " and they are carried forward 
on the bosom of the onward flowing river." 


or THE \ 

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